Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

Tomorrow night, President Obama is going to give a national speech at West Point in which he's going to either escalate the troops in Afghanistan or draw down. All signs point to the former, I know how I feel about this but found someone else who can articulate it better. This is Michael Moore's open letter to the President.

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore
Monday, November 30th, 2009
Dear President Obama,
Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.
It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).
So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.
There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.
With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.
Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.
I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.
Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"
Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.
We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?
Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.
The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.
President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."
What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.
All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.
When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.
Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.
Tonight we still have hope.
Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.
We're counting on you.
Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com
P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or email the President.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Um, can you NOT touch me?


A couple of months ago, I was at my cousins house for a dinner party.

While at her house, I was looking at a calendar and was reading about the Malaysian culture and how it is custom for guests to take their shoes off when entering someone's home. It is highly offensive if you don't. It's taken so seriously that if you fail to abide, you might get shot.

Not really.

That was a joke.

In the religion of Islam, a custom or rule, rather, that we have is that women should not touch a male and a male should not touch a female. Unless it is their mahram- a close relative, i.e. father, brother, husband. And the bottom line and reasoning behind this can be summed up to: One touch can lead to a whole lot of other things. If you catch my drift.

So that's why it should be avoided at all costs.

When I'm at interviews, I'm always thinking, I really hope a guy is not gonna be interviewing me. I dont want him to extend his hand for a handshake.


Truth be told, and I'm going to be completely honest with you all, it's frustrating to explain to people why Muslims cannot shake the opposite genders hand and why they cant give us a pat on the shoulder or give us hugs or why they shouldn't be grabbing us from the waist and trying to carry us to a karaoke bar in the middle of the night. (That in itself is another story, for another day)

But it happens. Men try to shake my hand and I'm thinking in my head: WTF do i do know.

I can hardly say, "Can you not touch me."

Although it might work for some situations, it's not your safest bet.

Do I shake it?
-
Yeah just do it this one time. Because you'll never see this guy ever again.
Phew. Now that that is done we can move on.
-
Yeah. Ummmm think again. ::As the guy comes to shake your hand as you depart and even pats your shoulder::

or another scenario:

Do I shake it?
-
No. Just explain to him that in Islam, we are prohibited from physically touching another man that is not our Mahram
Phew. Now that that is done we can move on.
-..........uhhhh....
Wait. I feel like he's looking at me funny. Maybe I've offended him. Oh God, he's totally judging all Muslims out there. He thinks I'm a freak. He thinks all Muslim girls are freaks. He's probably thinking What's the big deal if you shake a guy's hand. Now he's definitely going to think Muslim women are oppressed. That just confirmed it.

-----------------------------------------------------

Or something of that nature. I might be over thinking a tad bit.

But let's get some things straight: Muslim women are not oppressed.

You already knew that?

Good. I'm glad we're on the same page.

So do you see why it can be kind of difficult to maneuver around this situation? It can be rough.

Lately, I have brushed my morals aside (which is not a good thing) and continue to shake the opposite gender's hand. When you think it will be a one time thing, think again. I shook one guy's hand when I met him. And now he thinks it's okay to give me hugs.

I mean he doesn't really hug me, but he'll put his hand on my shoulder or around my shoulder and he thinks its okay.

Ever since I started teaching, that's all I've been doing. When I met the CEO, I shook his hand. When I meet a parent, I shake their hand. When I meet a new co-worker, I shake their hand.

It seems like it's never going to end.

Howie Mandel, the host of Deal or No Deal, doesn't shake people's hands because he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). And he makes people aware of this. The "dont shake my hand" thing. Not the OCD thing.






When in China, foreigners know that it's a custom to bow their heads when they initially meet someone.




Why can't people learn the customs of Muslims, I always wondered.

However, it's not that people aren't learning. It's that hardly anyone is teaching them.

(Obviously I speak about myself, before I speak about anyone else)

So as an attempt to change that, especially on my own part, I thought I would share it with you all.

Thus being said, if you are a female and meet a Muslim guy and know that he's Muslim, dont extend your hand, dont hug them, dont lean against them, dont pat them on the back, and dont kick them (unless they deserve it). And if you are a guy and you happen to meet a Muslim female, same thing goes for you: don't extend your hand.

It will save you a lot of awkward moments. Trust me.

Get it?

Got it?

Good!

I should really listen to my own advice, huh?

Either that or I should buy a pin that says this and wear it at all times:




Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Eid

Today was Black Friday.
And today was Eid. Eid -ul-Adha.
There's no relation. I just though it important to mention both. Shopping is my thang.

We have two Eids: One after fasting {Eid-ul-Fitr} and another after a pilgrimage which is Eid-ul-Adha.

The pilgrimage is a journey to Makkah that every Muslim has to make, if he is financially and physically able to do so. We call this Pilgrimage "Hajj". Below is a picture of the Ka'ba. It was built by Prophet Abraham {Peace & blessing be upon him}. All those dot's around it? People!!!


There are a series of things one should do in Hajj. One is we go around the Ka'ba seven times. Another is we run between two mountains. It represents when Hagar ran between the two mountains looking for water for her son, Ishmael. {There are some more but then it'd get into a really lengthy post because I'd want to do it in detail. If you want more info let me know in the comments!}

Oh there's this place called Mount Arafat. We go and pray for forgiveness on that mountain. The day the pilgrims go there is a special day for everyone. If you fast on that day God forgives our sins from the previous year and the upcoming year. Two years worth of sins? It's a good deal. Especially for me. Kinda like Yom Kippur. This is the last day of the Hajj. And then we celebrate!!

Fun fact: Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. About 5-6 million people come from around the world to worship God. I think dua to the swine flu situation there was an upper and lower age limit and some countries couldn't come.

It's pretty cool. Not the swine flu situation. Hajj.

I've never been, but I hope to one day. What's cool is that you can't tell who is rich and who is poor. You could have the richest man at one side and the poorest man on your other side and you wouldn't even know it. Everyone is dressed the same. Men are to wear two pieces of cloth that can't be tied/knotted and it can't be stitched. It's a simple garment. And they have to shave/trim their heads. I do not know how it stays on. I'm sure you can find a YouTube demo somewhere. There's no restriction on women, though. We can wear what we want yeeeah. But I think it should also be simple attire. The guy below didn't shave his head yet.




Anyways, Eid is celebrated after Hajj. During this Eid we sacrifice an animal. I think most people do a goat in my part sof the world. We keep 1/3 of it, give a third to other family members and another third to the poor. I know some people out there berate Muslims for this day, saying we love killing animals blah blah and that blood runs through the streets in some Muslim countries on this day. Honestly, what do you think slaughterhouses are?? They're cruel. They shock animals to death. Sometimes the animals don't even die and they're skinned alive. We have a certain way it should be done. And there's no or minimal pain. I don't know why people who choose to speak so hatefully against anything choose to remain so ignorant. At least get the facts straight. Then fight.
1) DO NOT KILL THE ANIMAL IN FRONT OF HIS FRIENDS. The other's freak out.
2) we give it 3 sips of water.
3) We say a prayer
4) Cut the Jugular vein so it doesn't feel any pain and loses conciousness immediately.
That's all I can remember. I think it shouldn't be a baby?? I've never done this and don't like watching it. Goats are my favorite animals, you know. I used to run after them in India when we visited as a little girl screaming "Bakkiiii!!" Bakri means goat but I couldn't say it properly.



Oh and I'd like to give a shout out to Best Buy for mentioning Eid. Although I have a feeling it was to get us out into their stores today lol. Oh and since Muslims go according to the Lunar calendar Eid won't be on Black friday next year. it's about ten days shorter than the Gregorian calendar.

Happy Eid & I hope you guys hauled in some nice stuff in the stores today. :)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. I hope that was a little educational and not so boring. If you do have questions, comments, feel free to leave them. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

WOWOWOWOWOWOW

HiHi!! Todays my birthday :) yaaay!! Happy Birthday to me!!! :D I have to say that I have the most amazing sister and friends who took me out and made me feel super special :).
Not only is today special for me because it was the day I was born, but it's also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It was created by the United Nations in 1981, designed to educate the masses of the abuse women face from domestic, to rape. Just letting y'all know :).

My gorgeous friend wanted to inspire me today, she wanted me to think about today as the first day of a career in living happily ever after. So she sent me this poem called Ithaka (a Greek island), and I wanted to share :).

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.


Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,


as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.


Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
 

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
 

and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.


Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.


But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.


And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.



The poem was written by Constantine P. Cavafy and all pictures were taken from deviantart.com. It brightened my day I hope it does yours as well :)
<3

Sunday, November 22, 2009

COEXIST

Sunday, November 8th was "The First Annual Queens Interfaith Unity Walk" in Queens, NY (particularly in Flushing) and I was lucky enough to know about it and participate in such a great event, Alhamdulillah -All Praise is to God-. It was SUCH a beautiful day. 63 degrees in November. I felt like we were down south. I think it was a sign from God. ;)

So Queens, NY is the MOST diverse county in the United States, which was all the more reason to have this walk here. It was a way to bring everyone together to promote peace and understanding.

Allah has told us in the Qur'an: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." Chapter 49, Verse 13.

This verse truly reflects what you see when you're in Queens. I remember growing up here and being friends with people from all over the world. Good experience. *thumbs up*


We started off the walk at the "Hindu Temple Center", with a welcome and introductions about the walk.


The dancers did a bharatanatyam dance, which is a form of classical indian dance. The girls were so cute!



Then we walked around the outside and were shown the actual prayer area of the temple. We had to see it from the outside because you aren't allowed to wear shoes in the prayer area and taking off all 100 shoes would probably hold us up from the rest of the walk.


After the hindu temple, we started walking over to the "Gurudwara" (The Sikh Temple). We didn't step in, just heard the Sikh brothers give a little speech.


Then the walk continued to the "Muslim Center of New York."

A hafiz (someone who has memorized the entire Quran) read a verse from the Qur'an, the one about Maryam and Jesus, to show that the belief in Jesus is a uniting factor. This boy was about 9 years old. He was so cute masha'Allah.

Look at his feet, so nervous, lol.

We then proceeded to the prayer area and everyone took off their shoes. We were at the mosque just in time for Asr prayer (Mid afternoon prayer) so us Muslims just walked over to the side and performed our prayers. People asked questions like, "Do women have to pray? Can they pray at the mosque? Who choses the leader? How many times do you pray? How do you chose the verse to use for prayer? Is an imam higher than everyone else?"

I thought the imam (leader of the masjid) did a great job in presenting Islam and answering questions from the community. I was very proud! :)

After the mosque, we stopped by at the park to hear a few words from the Quakers and Buddhists. The Quakers offer prayer silently so we all bowed our heads and prayed for peace and love.


We then resumed the walk to the "Free Synagogue".



The rabbi sang and he had a GREAT voice, mashallah. After singing the prayer, he said:

"There's an old tradition in Judaism that "Our prayers are private and personal between us and God" and so if we say them out loud, everybody hears what we're praying but if we only say them to ourselves, we don't seem like a community. So we have this idea that if we sing out loud "Lai lai lai" and think our prayers at the same time, we can have our private prayer and our community prayer going on at the same time and it will stay private...so let's follow along with this "la la song". Think your prayers for harmony and peace and love and good and sisterhood as you do it you'll pick up this melody almost instantly I know and if you're not singing, God will know..." and with that, he made us follow along with a "lai lai song" and it was so cool! It reminded me of the days I was in chorus (which was way back in the 5th grade). Although I'm not great, I still loveeeeee to sing! :)

Last but not least, the walk ended at the 175 year old "Saint Michaels Church" where food and drinks were awaiting.

Overall I lovedddddd the walk. I found out more information about Reformed Judaism from this Jewish sister I spoke to throughout the walk and it was great to see such a big turnout, it gave me hope. There was probably about 100 people that attended, all ages, religions and races. I think this was a great stepping stone towards peace and understanding and am so glad I was given a chance to be part of it, Alhamdulillah. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My List

I was inspired by reinventingsandyb's blog to go back and look my list of things I want to do before I hit 30 years old.

I wrote it about 4 years ago and thought I'd post it...

1. Master the classical Arabic language (working progress)
2. Memorize the entire Qur'an with meaning and understanding (working progress)
3. Travel every continent of the world (working progress)
4. Swim and snorkel in the Red Sea
5. Cross a glacier
6. Paint my room
7. Sleep in the Prophet's Masjid in Medina
8. Write a book and get it published
9. Go for Hajj
10. Buy a savvy camera and become a photographer on the side
11. Ride a camel
12. Climb Mount Sinai
13. Be an inspirational Arabic teacher, inspiring others using the beautifully rich language of the Qur'an
14. Lose 30 pounds and be in really good shape
15. Sleep under a starry night in a desert, a beach, a mountain, a field
16. Volunteer in the Peace Corp
17. Read at least 3 complete volumes of classical tafseer (explanation of the Quran) books in Arabic
18. Go racing on a horse across the Sahara
19. Make someone smile everyday
20. Write a gratitude journal every night
21. Teach English in a the Middle East
22. Go skydiving
23. Live in a studio apartment with spiral stairs either in a big city or by the beach
24. Learn to snowboard
25. Go sand boarding
26. Write all my secrets and send it as a message in a bottle across the sea
27. Take a hot air balloon ride
28. Live by a motto and revise it time to time
39. Live without internet for a week
30. Learn to cook like my mom


8 down, 22 more to go :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

quicky

Wassssup party people???! I had the randomest urge to share that. OK soooo my birthday's next week..yaaay. I already feel 20 so i'm not expecting a huge shift or an epiphany *shrug*. Something I AM excited about though, is this recipe I found buried in my phone that I had made a year ago on my brother's birthday. Think coconuts and limes mmmm, my too favoritest flavors ..together! lime coconut cupcakes, a tingly, tangy, sensation! I must share!


4 oz butter
4 oz sugar
2 eggs
2 oz coconut
3 limes zested and juiced
6 oz flour
1t baking powder

**warning** this does have a very lime-y flavor so if your not a big fan of limes you can mix in 1 1/2 limes and a quarter cup of water :)
on with the recipe! it's really quite simple:

Preheat oven to 350f, whisk butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and whisk. Mix in coconut, lime zest/juice. Fold in flour and baking powder, spoon into cupcake pan. Bake 15-20 min.
Easy peasy lemon squeezey!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Relationships

You know that thing when two people have some sort of emotional connection?

Relationships?


Yea, that!

I think the best way to affect someone is by forming a relationship with them. In the process you learn so much about yourself too. The Prophet Muhammed (Peace and Blessings be upon him) once said, "'The best among you are those who have the best manners and character." Growing up I never really understood this. I was always taught at Sunday Schools (which I hated going to) that Islam is all about the five pillars. That's it. Wonderful...now I can list them off the top of my head: declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimage to Mecca. Seriously people I think that's the worst way to tell a person about Islam.

So why is it that so many people were turning to Islam during the Prophet's time? People were drawn to him, not necessarily through his teaching of Islam, but by his beautiful character. I read books about him and different stories and it amazes me how much he actually cared for people. There's this one story where the Prophet was on his way to run some important errands. On the path he came across a little boy who was sobbing and grieving over the death of his bird. So the Prophet stopped to console the child and tried to make him smile. He didn't leave the boy until he was smiling again! In this day and age I feel like many of us (included me for sure) are so self-absorbed. We're always busy, always have a million errands to run, and always on the go. When was the last time we stopped, took a deep breath, and thought about someone else?

Relationships with others, how we treat each other, whether we think about each other in each others absence... those are the important things. God is all Merciful and as such we should spread mercy throughout the world. Imagine what a difference it makes when you smile at random people on the street? Its truly contagious. Once I was in an elevator and this lady looked at me and said with a huge smile, "You have a great day!" and left. It was simple but it totally made my day.

So lets go back and start reconnecting with people...our family, our friends, our neighbors, even that random kid you walk past everyday on your way to school/work.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mrs. Cullen: The Wise One

Dear Friends,

I look like a balloon right now. My face is all swollen up and it aint pretty. Thank you everyone for your concern about my mom. She reached safely to New York and she just came back home tonight=) The first thing she did was laugh out loud when she saw my swollen face. Sigh. And my grandma laughed too. My grandpa didn't. He just immediately started naming people that he thought I looked like. FML. Anyway, I went to the bank today and as soon as I took a look at the little boy that was there with his dad, he started to cry and came running to his dad. I'm serious. It was because of my face. Everyone was staring at me. Even my T.A. (Teacher's Assistant) was laughing at me, when he was talking to me. I told him, "Thanks for laughing at me." And he said, "I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you." But I wasn't laughing. I wast just sitting there and staring at him. And looking like a balloon.

Ok. Why is my face all swelled up? Cuz I got in a fight. I know, I know. So unlike me. Well kinda. But its true. I was walking at school, minding my own business when this girl got in my face. She was all like, "Gurl, why you be tryina get wit my man?" And I was all like, "Huh, what you talkin about woman?" And she was like, "Gurl you know what I'm talkin' bout!" And I was like, "No I don't! I was mindin' my own business and you came all up in my face!" And shes like, "I saw you talkin' to him and I read your text messages to him. Girl, you betta stay away cuz he my baby daddy!!!" And I was like, "I aint stayin away. I love him. He treat me like a Queen!" And then she punched me and then I punched her back.

Ok. Um. Just kidding. Nothing like that happened. Nor did I take anyones man or anything. (Because thats not allowed in Islam. Oh. Not that I would take someones man away.) Anyway. I got my wisdom teeth removed yesterday morning. I got three removed because I already had the last one removed two years ago. Anyway. One side of my face looks normal. But its not. It is also swollen. You just can't tell because the other side is OH SO BAD. So you think this side is normal. Sigh. The more swollen side looks like I stuck an egg on the left side of my mouth. FML. Somebody thought there was gauze in there and thats why it looked so big. Sigh. No. Thats just my face.

Anyway. Even though I have gotten one of my wisdom teeth removed before, I will still so nervous. I was shaking and in so much pain when the dentist was giving me shots to numb me up. He gave me like a zillion shots. The assistant let me squeeze her hand. Haha. And I did. I'm so lame. Anyway. After the shots he went to take out someone else's teeth, while my face numbed up. I was shaking oh so much. Then finally, it was my turn. The first two teeth came out in like a second! It didn't even hurt when he removed them. I just felt some pressure. At one point the dentist asked what the problem was. And thats when I realized I was making awkward painful/moaning noises, for no reason. Because it didn't even hurt. I felt so stupid. So, I stopped. But the last tooth took some time. First he tried to take it out just like he took out the other two. That didn't work. Then he used some sharpy thing and there was a lot of blood. Then he used this wrench like thing. Then he used this plyer. Omg. That scared me. Finally he got it out. Half of it. Then he took out the rest. Then he stitched me up. All done.

Sigh. Anyway, it was the most painful thing ever. Sigh. Don't ever do it. The bleeding is supposed to stop in 3-4 hours but mine didn't stop for 24 hours. Last night, I didn't sleep. I kept waking up to myself choking on my blood. It was terrible. And I felt like a vampire. And the diet is terrible. I've only been eating pudding, soup and yogurt. I WANT CHICKEN AND RICE AND REAL FOOD. On top of that I wasn't even prescribed Vicodin. Only Tylenol 3. FML. Anyway. It has been quite an awful 36 hours. I just hope it gets better. Please pray that it does. Thanks. Anyway, this is something my friend just sent me and it made me happy. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor anxiety, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”

Yours for the sake of Peace and Brotherhood,
Mrs. Cullen

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal, as loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness.*

I've been pondering over this issue for a while now. Maybe some of you guys can help me out with this one.

Trust. Actually not really trust. Let me be more specific. Trust in confidentiality.

It's a very rare characteristic to own these days. I'm not about to hate on people who have broken other people's trust. We all make mistakes. But I am wondering why people would continuously, purposefully break a persons trust.

Why are secrets no longer secret? Why aren't there any secret keepers out there anymore? Why do we have to think five times before we tell anyone anything anymore. People can't talk about their problems anymore for fear of it getting out.

Why is it that when someone tells someone, "Don't tell anyone," they get an uncontrollable itch to run to the first person they see and vomit out everything they just heard, with the addition of {not so tiny} exaggerations.

Why is it? Is it that they have their own problems and low self esteem they like to bring others down to look better and feel better about themselves? Is it that they just thrive on gossip and like to be the official 411 girl? Or are they just forgetful...all the time? What is it that makes a person tell other people secrets?

And I'm not talking about mutual friends either. I'm talking about acquaintances and other people that haven't even met. I can't figure it out.

I'm very lucky to have a lot of trustworthy people in my life. But these days, I think twice before I say anything to anyone outside my trust friends circle. I'm talking about non-secretive stuff about my personal life. Actually, I can't think of any secrets I have at the moment. Just stuff I don't want the whole entire world to know right now. I prefer not to have my whole life story out there. Unless, maybe I do want the whole world to know everything about me.

It's just annoying. I'll run into someone and they'll be like, "oh yeah hey how's that thing going for ya?" and I'll be like wth how do you know? If I wanted my life advertised and everyone to know everything about every detail of my life I'd facebook it every 30 seconds.

Maybe I'm fed up of everyone being obsessed with gossip. It's not just gossip though. Gossip tends to turn into slander and I don't like that.

In Islam, trust is a huge thing. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was known for being trustworthy. Even people who didn't believe in Islam and thought him a liar when it came to religion trust him with their gold, money, houses and etc when they were away. He said that there are 3 signs of a hypocrite:

1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise).
3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest.

There are a few people I know. This girl has told me everything about her best friends. Stuff that I know for sure that they would not want anyone to know. And they whole time I was thinking to myself why is she telling me? I thought it sucked that they have no idea. But being a hater of drama I didn't do anything about it. I feel bad. What should I do?

Remember this and never let this out fo yuor head. If a person talks smack about her best friends to you, what makes you think she's going to have anything nice to say about you. DO NOT TRUST THESE PEOPLE. Don't say I didn't warn you. it's all there in red, bold and caps.

And then there's the infamous, "I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this but don't tell anyone.." line I've heard. STOP. If you do not know then do not tell. It's better to not hurt people and lose their trust. I may have pulled this once or twice. Thank God it wasn't a problem and it was tell-able stuff. It was good stuff. But like me, people might be pretty selective when it comes to sharing personal stuff. I've stopped because I don't want to get myself into a cat fight. I'd totally win, except maybe against CC, because she knows Kung Fu. But, no thanks.

I've only known one instance about my trust being betrayed, but I don't tell people anything anymore. That was enough to close me up. Well, I'm not a hermit. I just don't go into details of my life anymore. Only a select few deserve to know. I don't think it's worth the heartache of knowing someone you trusted completely had blurted everything out to people you don't even talk to but will talk about you. It spreads like wildfire, this stuff. And maybe I wouldn't have minded but it's the exaggerations, the false details the lies intermingles between that got to me.

So, people, tell me. Why do people do it? Have you done it? Have you been betrayed? Have you ever been able to trust that person again? Do you trust anyone anymore? Please tell me what youy think. :)

* quote by Edwin Louis Cole

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mrs. Cullen: The GPS

Dear Friends,

I am so. freaking. frustrated. right now. My mom, grandma and grandpa went to New York to visit my sister. They left this morning at 7 AM. The GPS stopped working while they entered Ohio. Oh never mind. Actually, thats when my mom decided to call and let us know it wasn't working. Apparently it wasn't even working when she left the house. Sigh. My mom didn't print out directions or anything; she was simply relying on the GPS. So, since then I have been on the phone with her giving her directions. On top of that, her cell phone is about to die. And shes in the middle of Ohio. Sigh. I feel really bad though cuz I was getting really frustrated with her and yelling. I almost lost my voice. Well I wasn't yelling at her, I was just yelling out the directions for some reason. I probably looked and sounded like an idiot, yelling into the phone. It was my day to sleep in. So after I woke up at 6:30 for the morning prayer, Fajr, I went back to sleep. So, I was quite frustrated when I got a phone call at 7:45. Then another one at 8. Another call at 8:20. After that I gave up on sleep and just stayed on the phone with her.

Ok. I'm not stupid. Initially I had her write down all the directions. But then she got lost. Because my dad and sister kept calling her over and over again. So she became frustrated. I told her to ignore their calls. Ok. Another thing. I rely on Google for everything (including this blog). But Google maps sucks!!!!! I was helping her with Google maps but it was causing her to go into circles. So then I switched to Yahoo maps..soo much better!!!


Oh. In case you're wondering why the stupid GPS stopped working..Well it keeps saying "Searching for GPS satellite signal." There is no way there isn't any signal anywhere. My dad thinks my mom did something to it. My mom is blaming in on the GPS brand; Tom Tom. What kind of freaking name is Tom Tom. Would you go to the store and buy a Tom Tom brand GPS or a Garmin brand GPS???? I know. I know. Garmin. It just sounds so much better. Anyway. Now shes driving on I-80E. She has to drive on this for over 500 miles. Sigh. Please pray that she makes it to Staten Island, NY. Thanks

Yours for the Sake of Peace and Sisterhood,
Mrs. Cullen

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Column of Narcissism with No Refunds

Hello there

This is controlled chaos with a guest.....post.....from....ImnotBenny!!!!!
:::crowd cheers::::

If you haven't checked out his posts. You really should. He's hilarious. And we wanted to share his hilarity with everyone out there.

And I promised him followers if he guest posted for us.

Haha no I lie. Completely.
But this is what he said:

So I set my post linking to yours to go up around noon tomorrow, so I predict by noon and three seconds, you will have the most popular blog on the planet and also will have multiple book deals thrown your way!

And preferred restaurant seating!

And discounts on girl scout cookies!

And free eggs from local grocers!

Sweet.

While the popularity part would be really cool, let's be serious here, who cares about that if you can have free eggs from Kroger. As long as they're not being thrown at me.

Truthfully, it's the promise of cookies that I will be holding him to. Girl scout cookies are so yummy. If I don't get a single offer I'm asking all of you to start a spam movement against him.


So with the risk of him being spammed, I present to you Mr. I'm not benny's guest post!

(Oh and P.S. Fat Pogo and Blind Shana are his dogs...I think)
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I spent twenty minutes looking for my keys this morning and they were in my back pocket the whole time.

I'm pretty sure that qualifies me for some sort of state aid for the mentally incompetent.

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Usually in the morning when the alarm goes off and I'm still half asleep, I grab the remote and turn the TV on to MSNBC and listen for a while before I get up. Last night my DVR recorded something and so the TV was on a different channel.

So I press the power button, and am instantly bombarded with the sound of:

- about ten pre-teen girls screaming at the top of their lungs.

- Fat Pogo rolling of the bed and crashing to the floor.

- Blind Shana freaking out, jumping straight into the new vertical window blinds I just put up, and then turning and smashing into the night table.

Then the remote got tangled up in the bedsheets and I couldn't get it out, so I jumped out of bed to run to the TV and turn it off, but I'm wearing these over-sized pajama pants because they only cost six dollars, and when I took a step the legs of the pajamas were way past where my foot actually is, so I stepped on the pajamas and tripped and fell to the floor and landed on top of Fat Pogo.

Dear makers of the Barbie Pink Ticket Party commercial,

I'm pretty sure if I ever see any of you walking down the street I'm going to run you over in my car.


Sincerely, ImnotBenny,

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Dear Blind Shana,

I don't care if you're blind. Pooping in the driveway right in front of my car door makes you a jerk.

Sincerely,

ImnotBenny

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So my buddy Kevin came over last weekend, which was pretty cool since I don't get a chance to see any of my friends anymore since I'm always studying.

Kevin: "Man, I wish I would have remembered to bring that new Rambo movie with me."

Me: "I haven't seen it yet- how was it?"

Kevin: "Pretty good. I feel like watching a movie. Hey, what's that one?"

So if your friend who was just wishing that he could watch Rambo asks what movie you have from Netflix that you left sitting on top of your cable box, you will have to tell him that it is a World War Two documentary that you can't even watch because it was cracked when it got here, because if you tell your friend who wants to watch Rambo that what you actually ordered from Netflix is a copy of Fiddler on the Roof, there is a good chance that he will beat you up and you will pretty much have to take it.

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I just flipped on the news, and the first thing I heard was:

"It's nothing more than a watered down bill written on Republican toilet paper!"

Then I turned the TV back off because there's no way to top that.

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Some lady from a collection agency keeps calling my new cell phone and asking for Todd. I've told her a couple of times that I am not, in fact, Todd, and this is a new cell phone so please stop calling me. I've told her this twice already.

Today she called again.

I've decided that the next time she calls I'm going to tell her that yes, "I AM TODD, I'VE BEEN TODD THIS WHOLE TIME, AND I'M NEVER GOING TO PAY! NEVER! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Then I'm going to hang up.

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I like to watch the Asian channel because it's oddly entertaining to me, and I figured that I would eventually learn flawless Chinese this way.

It's become obvious to me over time that every single person in China speaks gibberish.

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So Blind Shana has vestibular, which is a nerve disorder that causes her to lose balance, and she constantly has to hold her head cocked to the side, plus her eyes sort of point slightly away from each other. She looks like a cartoon.

It's pretty sweet.

She basically spends her entire day walking around like she's drunk and bumping into things. Most of the time, I keep an eye on her and can catch her before she walks into a wall or a guest, and I'll sort of yell "OOP" and she'll veer away, or "There you go" when she hesitates, so she knows it's okay to keep going.

I have a remote control dog.

I'm trying to figure out the right pattern of yelling so she will go to the kitchen and return with a sandwich.

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Conversations with Fat Pogo, part 982

Fat Pogo: "Tim, I need to talk to you about something important."


Me: "What is it, Chubbs? If you're planning on asking about treats, the answer is no."

Fat Pogo: ".....Why must you always demean me? I wanted to talk about Shana."

Me: "Shana can't have a treat either, and even if she could I would not let you carry it to her."

Fat Pogo: "You realize you're affecting my self esteem with your mockery, don't you?"

Me: Sigh, "Okay, Chubbs, what do you want to talk about?"

Fat Pogo: "I'm worried about Shana's health. She's too skinny. I think she needs to eat more."

Me: "What do you mean? Shana's fine. It's nice of you to be concerned, though. I'm proud of you, Chubbs."

Fat Pogo: "Well, I still think she should eat more. You should make her eat more."

Me: "....Why?"

Fat Pogo: "Well, I was watching this movie earlier, and these people crashed in a plane on top of a mountain, and they were starving and had to eat each other. What happens if we get snowed in this winter? Shana has no meat on her."

Me: "......"

Fat Pogo: "......"

Me: "Go away, Chubbs."

Fat Pogo: "You know, you won't be so flippant about this when we are snowed in and staring at each other while holding forks, and you're all: Wow, I wish Shana was meatier. Woe is me."

Me: "GO."

Fat Pogo: "Fine, I'll go......I'm really more concerned for YOU, you know..... maybe we should try to get on Judge Judy and let her decide which one of us is right. She's smart."

Me: "You're not allowed to watch TV any more. Go away."

Fat Pogo: "Okay, but the forecast calls for snow. I hope you know what you're doing."


BOTSWANA

video

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fort Hood




Front page of every news revolves around the shooting that happened in Texas. I don't even need to go into details for all of you to understand what I am talking about.

News reports started breaking out about a shooting spree from several gunmen. Which eventually turned into one gunman. Instantly people on twitter started betting it was a muslim. Prayers were being read for those involved. Others tweeted about how they were appalled.
It wasn't just twitter though. News articles involving the story where constantly being updated. Everyone anxiously waited for news about those involved in the incident. And still do.

With the country watching every piece of information coming out about the horrific shooting spree, people are once again examining Muslims. With that Muslims in America are coming out to condemn the incident. But others question why is it necessary for us to condemn everything someone else is doing? Just because they are Muslim and we are Muslim? Shouldn't the focus be on "the psyhciatrist and issues he had with deployment and that fact that he needed help/therapy himself"?

Anyways, so instead of presenting a single muslim voice to you, speaking about the event at Fort Hood, I had a few individuals type up blurps. They might not know everything but it's their own opinions, thoughts or just covering the facts that took place at Fort Hood yesterday.


I'm sure we all know what happened in Texas yesterday. It's such a tragedy. I don't know what to think. It seems like there's no break in the cycle. The same thing just happens over and over again.Why must Maj. Hasan be referred to a "muslim" "arab" and "terrorist" every single time? What happened to plain old "American"? It's stated he was a "US Born Muslim." Was Timothy Mcvey every referred to as an "US Born Catholic"? Were the Columbine shooters labeled as "American Protestants?" No, they were not. How come that was irrelevant? These words are brainwashing everyone and causing so much more fear. Do we really need that right now, especially with the lack of evidence for the shooters motive??

Do you guys remember when General Cone mentioned that witnesses supposedly saw 3 shooters? I understand in the moment of panic, you see things or THINK you saw them. But how do people mistake that? These 3 shooters were interviewed and let go, to find out it was a single shooter incident. So if people thought they saw 3 shooters but were wrong, then it seems witnesses could possibly be wrong about these statement too:

"Soldiers reported that the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great!" — before opening fire, said Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the base commander. He said officials had not confirmed that Hasan made the comment." (Yahoo News)

"The commander of the base, Lt Gen Robert Cone, told NBC News that, according to eyewitnesses, Mr Hasan had shouted the Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar!" [God is great] before opening fire." (BBC.co.uk)

Why mention an unconfirmed statement? Let's get our facts together FIRST before jumping to conclusions people. I urge everyone to be open minded and to not believe everything the media says.

I'm angry. I'm angry that he did this. I want to know why. What was going through his mind? I'm angry that this guy killed/hurt so many people. They were so innocent. They didn't deserve this. No one did. I'm angry that the media, never ceases to accuse Islam (indirectly and you can't argue that they're not) and I'm angry thinking of how many people are probably in fear of their life right now.

Why are we, as humans allowing this to happen? And with "this", I mean allowing the demonization of Islam, allowing the military men to go untreated, allowing wars to happen, and allowing the unfair treatment of others? I don't like to lose hope but sometimes I feel as though I don't know what else to do to prove to everyone that Muslims are SANE. Sometimes I want to hide in a cave and sometimes I wish, really really wish that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was alive. sigh.

I pray that all the families, including Maj Hasan's family find peace and may God make this easy for them. May He expose the truth behind this matter and bring justice to all that rightfully deserve it.

---Simply Me



Yesterday a cousin of the Army psychiatrist spoke with CNN over the phone. He kept repeating over and over that his cousin was a "Good American." I wouldn't call him a good American or even a good human being. What this man did was terrible but I have a hard time believing it was for religious purposes. Yesterday the news didn't mention that the man screamed "Allahu Akber" (God is great) right before his attack, so how come they are saying it now? I dunno. I just have a hard time believing that this man really said that. How could a man do so much damage and no one stop him? Ok, maybe they tried to stop him but they couldn't manage to kill him? I dunno. I'm one of those people who doesn't believe most of what she hears on the news. If anyone did what he said it would be huge and be on the news, just as it is. However, its so much of a bigger deal since the man is a Muslim. Sigh

--Mrs. Cullen

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8347501.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/nov/06/fort-hood-shootings-hasan-muslim

These articles discuss how Major Hasan was horrified after he found out he was to be deployed to Afghanistan. I think it's clear that he was deeply troubled and unstable from all the work with mentally-distressed and traumatized veterans, and his own military tours. He most likely just wanted to do anything he could to not be deployed...

It can be hard to understand how troubled some soldiers are; it's an issue quite hidden from the mainstream. My friend commented, “A Muslim.. and a mental health professional. What are the odds?” Well, how about the odds that eighteen soldiers commit suicide everyday (according to the Veterans Administration). Here's an enlightening article about suicide and PTSD issues.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/13/cbsnews_investigates/main3496471.shtml

Couple such mental issues with a confused, Palestinian-American identity and the additional troubles this brings of dealing with the violence and acts one may have committed or seen as a US soldier.So yeah, the odds look alright to me...

And while religion and spirituality could bring stability to these problems... people point to this man's religious identity while being totally silent on these issues. How many American veterans are unemployed or completely homeless after serving their country? How many suffer from PTSD and receive no support whatsoever? How many are casualties of the nation they thought they were fighting for?

At the same time, I just wish people would have the same uproar over violence against innocent civilians as they do for military personnel. Though of course, all loss is unfortunate. It's just that reality here in the American bubble is somewhat distorted.



---Provoking Invoking


Yesterday I was at the mall and the giant tv screen, which was on mute, had "BREAKING NEWS: MASSACRE AT FORT HOOD, scribbled across the screen. I was like, whoa, what happened? And then I started getting texts about this Muslim Major who went psycho and started shooting everybody on this base. They were reports that he had been to Iraq, that he could have been emotionally deranged, oh and also that he was probably working for a terrorist Muslim group.

Here is what we know:Maj. Nidal Hasan, is a 39 yr old Psychiatrist who spent most of his career at the large Walter Reed Army Medical Center. A processing center for soldiers returning from and about to be sent, overseas. He opened fire with an automatic pistol and another weapon, killing 13 people and injuring 31. Hasan, had been shot four times until he finally went down, by a wounded Civilian Officer. At first believed to have been killed, he is now recovering and on a ventilator. He was born in Virginia, got his medical degree from a military academy in 2003 and has been at the Washington Army Medical Center for 6 yrs before being transferred to Texas.

There are reports that he was "deeply, fundamentally opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq" from an un-named former colleague, which I am skeptical about. Every other source, his commanding officer and the nurses he worked with, were identified. I don't know what was going through his mind as he shot and killed so many people, if/when he regains consciousness.

---Snake Charmer

And those are the blurps I have for you today.
And those tweets wondering whether every Muslim they meet might be a foe? I am not even going to respond to that. What would like me to do? Plead to you I'm not a foe?
Personally? I truly salute the woman who brought him down, feel sorry for those that are suffering, for their pain, but I also wonder about the man who went from being a good neighbour to someone that seemed to have lost their mind.
To quote Simply Me, "I pray that all the families, including Maj Hasan's family find peace and may God make this easy for them. May He expose the truth behind this matter and bring justice to all that rightfully deserve it. "
--controlled chaos

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oranges on the Streets of Jerusalem

I miss walking up and down the old alleyways of Jerusalem. In a land so torn somehow the old gated city brought such a sense of peace and happiness to my heart. I suppose it was the small things that really made my experience amazing.

Watching little kids play around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Eating fresh date bread off the streets. Buying pounds after pounds of sweet gummies before Friday prayer. Talking to a local shop owner about his family. Drinking fresh orange juice on a hot sunny afternoon.



I was blessed to be able to go to Palestine a second time this summer Alhumdulillah (All thanks to God). I pray that peace comes back to the land in which once upon a time all peoples lived harmoniously. Ameen.

*Yes, I took this picture myself :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Food for Thought.

OMGAHHHHHHHHHHH. So I was looking back at my previous post: SM's Ramblings and didn't realize you guys left more comments! Sorry! I finally got around to replying to them. Bad blogger, I know. :( I wish there was some notification system, like facebook! I will try to be better next time, God Willing. BTW: Great layout!!! Totally loving it even though I'm not in the picture. ;)

Anyway, I'm currently reading this book "Skinny Bitch" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnoiun. The authors
are both former models and one's even got an MS in Holistic Nutrition! Holla. I got my BS in Nutrition so that makes me feel kinda super cool. The book is kind of an expose (not really) of the food industry and how different ingredients are harmful to your health and what you should eat/avoid in order to be/remain healthy. I'm only on chapter 4 and I already feel like I'm going to die of a heart attack, brain tumor or something really bad...like die in a car accident because I was eating a fish filet while driving (which btw I would never do because I despise McDonald's). They have a sarcastic sense of humor and it makes me laugh but some of the stuff they've written, I feel, is a bitttttttttttt extreme. I'm not done with the whole book so I dunno what else they've got to say. But it's sort of a reality check and gets you thinking about food and health.

Some might think I'm crazy psycho (redundant, I know but it sounds cool together) because I read the ingredients to spot out haram (unlawful) ingredients/components. Gelatin is something I religiously avoid because it's usually from pig, which is haram to consume if you're a Muslim. And although some gelatin originates from cattle (which is A-OK to eat), it would still be considered unlawful if the cattle it came from was not slaughtered in an Islamic/Kosher way. So why not avoid it in general? I mean I'm not really missing out on life just cuz I can't eat starbursts, marshmallows ( Thanks to Muslims, there's the halal version) poptarts and other unhealthy snacks. I'm still alive and very content indeed. And now, a new ingredient I've been avoiding are enzymes.

In Islam - with regards to food- if something originates from an unlawful source/has an unlawful component, the whole food is considered unlawful. Say if some food was cooked with alcohol, that food would be considered haram, even though supposedly alcohol "evaporates" when used in cooking...which is nooottt true according to the USDA. Their chart can be found here and here. Also The Journal of American Dietetic Association (Volume 102, Issue 4, April 2002 page 536) speaks about it and possibly other sources which I have not had time to search yet cuz USDA's got me convinced. Oh btw: I recently found out shrimp scampi is cooked with wine!! Even at red lobster. Booooooo!

By now you're probably thinking I don't get to enjoy any food if I'm so darn picky and mustonlyeatHalal but actuallllllllly, it's not that hard at all! Unless you live in Kentucky or Iowa or something. And God is always forgiving.

Which brings me to something else (Yes, I'm all over the place), have you ever wondered that although our meat is getting slaughtered in the name of Allah, WHERE is it originally from? HOW are these animals being treated? WHAT are they being fed? Islam strictly forbids cruelty towards animals even when they're being slaughtered!

“Fear God in regards to these animals who can not speak their will. If you ride them, treat them accordingly (by making them strong and fit for that), and if you [plan to] eat them, treat them accordingly (by making them fat and healthy).” Abu Dawud <--- this is a Hadith. Hadith are statements or actions of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him.

For instance, take the food industry today. The animals are treated like shi*t, literally:

"...A pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off...in concentrated animal feeding operations, large number of animals--1000 or more in the case of cattle and tens of thousands for chicken and pigs -- are kept in close, concentrated conditions and fattened up for slaughter as fast as possible...to stay alive and grow in such conditions, farm animals need pharmaceutical help, which can have further damaging consequences for humans..."
Time Magazine, Aug 31, 2009.

Poor pigs! And cows! And chickens! :(

Now I'm not saying become a vegetarian nor am I saying to start "doubting" and become super paranoid Muslim. No. Allah makes Islam easy for us and since Islam is a way of life, finding food to eat should not be hard. We're so blessed that there's halal food available at the tip of our fingers. I think we all just need to do some more research to find out where our food is coming from. If we don't take care of ourselves, who's to blame?

Allah says, "O mankind: Eat of what is lawful and good on earth" Qur'an 2: 168.

We have the lawful part down, now let's search for what's good.