I thought I would compile a few things pertaining to Jumu'ah with the convert in mind.
1. Attending the Jumu'ah Prayer - I used to love attending the masjid for Jumu'ah prayers. I looked forward to sitting in rows of people that are there to worship Allah and gain knowledge. I remember as a young mother taking my girls and trying to get them to behave during the khutbah. They usually would lean on me and sometimes even fall asleep as the khatib spoke. The thing is they didn't fall in love with it like I did. As they grew older it was really hard to get them back to the masjid. Strong mandates didn't seem to work and I found myself wanting to go the masjid but not wanting the arguements that went along with trying to get everyone in agreement to attend. I also had a hand in it as I felt the messages that were being sent from the minbar lacked relevance. To further my dismay the very things that I was trying to teach my girls about proper behavior at the masjid was not a shared value of the sisters off in the corner chatting and allowing their children to run freely around the prayer hall. Honestly, I just gave up trying to go. In retrospect it was a mistake. I should have not given up (I promise an idepth post on my ability to give up - I now equate it with emotional laziness). However, I have found opportunities to still gain some of the spirtual nourishment I need by listening in to the weekly Jumu'ah prayers online. Many local masjid's have a live link that allows people to tune in. This is a great option for sisters who might not be able to make it to the masjid due to family obligations. I tried it for the first time today and it was amazing. Valley Ranch Islamic Center is a masjid that I plan on tapping into each Friday. I did have a few glitches with the live feed but simply refreshing my browser helped with issues of buffering from the site.
2. Reading of Surah Al-Kahf - This is prescribed upon us each Friday. I have provided some links below to give further infomation.
“Whoever reads Surah al Kahf on a Friday, light will extend from his feet to the heights of the heaven on the Day of Judgment." reported by Tarbarani
Send me an email with pictures of your traditions that you and your family have created during the month of Ramadan. I would love to include them here. I of course will provide a link to blogs that contribute photos. :)
I am super excited to start blogging! Please take a moment to press the tab above titled "About", which explains the purpose of this blog. Wait, are you still reading? Seriously, you must read the "About" tab first! Okay, hopefully you have read the "About" tab and now you may be wondering, "Why Now?" I know that statistics say that a staggering 70% of people who take their shadahah will leave the deen, but I truly believe that if you asked these converts why, they would tell you that they don't feel enough love and fellowship from the Muslim community. Sure, they feel it for a while, but it doesn't last. I know there will be some people that feel that is a silly reason to abandon the faith, but the reality is that we all need each other to provide support and love. The Muslims in both Mecca and Medina created a joined community of diversity and faith. Those in Mecca held each other close and supported each other through terrible persecution, while those in Medina worked to create a healthy sustainable community where people grew in their faith.
This year was marked by the passing of a dear friend. She taught me many things about frienship, mercy and endless compassion, and I believe that if she was still with us, she wouldn't hesitate to embrace this project. It was always her vision to see true sisterhood develop without any form of backbiting, division, or judgement. The reason I chose Time Out is because, as a parent, I wanted my children to be thoughtful when taking a moment to access a situation. In no way do I meant to suufest that we "check out", but I do belive that we should all take mindful "Time Outs" from time to time. As a Muslim for 17 years, I finally feel connected to that feeling of excitement I had as a new Muslim. Time Outs should serve as a time to reaccess, recharge, and reclaim our faith.