Saturday, November 10, 2012




I think I miss Christmas. Not the religious celebration, but the idea around "Christmas Time."

Ya'll know what I mean right...

In the United States, Christmas is not really about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, it is about celebrating. It is a holiday that even atheists participate in because it is not socially considered to be a "religious" holiday anymore.

I miss being excited and seeing everyone else be excited. I miss eating gingerbread cookies and stringing up lights and watching old clay-mation movies on tv with my dad.

I miss the anticipation and feeling like a little kid. I miss the generous spirit that some people develop during this time.

There are so many things that are wrong with the celebration of Christmas, but it is difficult to let go of the things that feel right.

InshaAllah if I am blessed with children one day, I would love for them to feel about 3id the way that I felt about Christmas as a kid. I want there to be a sense of wonder and nostalgia; of excitement and generosity. I want to have family traditions that my children can look back on and smile about.

InshaAllah it's time to start planning.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ramadhan Make-Up Days



This Ramadhan I was sick pretty much the entire time alhamdulillah 3la kl 7al. The doctor ordered me to not fast, so now I have 21 days of fasting to make up inshaAllah.

Today is my first day of make-ups. I am trying to sort of "recreate" the Ramadhan spirit. I had kabsa and soup for sahoor and inshaAllah I will break my fast with dates, milk, and more soup. 

I plan on reading pages 109-110 in my Qur'an and doing some translation, and I have a goal to pray all of the sunnah's. I thought if I kept my goals for my make-up days similar to the goals I had during Ramadhan then it will feel more... I dunno. Sprited, or official or something.

I am planning to find/create a count down widgit to keep track of the days here on my blog.

Are any of you still making up days from Ramadhan? How do you make it feel more special?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Talk Like an Arkansan #2



Some more common words and phrases!!!

crick: creek, small stream or river   "I'm gonna go swimmin' in the crick."

ornery: stubborn, bad tempered   "That bull is ornery."

As (adjective) as a (noun with that characteristic) : a phrase used for emphasis, usually humerous   "That blanket is soft as a baby's butt."

... as all get out: to the maximum amount   "He's as mad as all get out."

if'n: if, in case  "If'n you ain't gonna eat that, can I have it?"

air up: inflate   "Don't forget to air up your tires."

hunkey dorey: great, perfect  "Everything is hunkey dorey!"

cross purposes: two opposing objectives "They's workin' at cross purposes."

womper-jawed/ off kilter: akew, off center  "Fix your dress woman, its all womper-jawed."

darn tootin': for sure, clearly "You're darn tootin'!"

fit to be tied: mad, angry "That big bull was fit to be tied when you jumped in his pen."

pop a squat: sit down  "Come on over and pop a squat, you look bushed."

      bushed: tired, exhausted

hankering/hankerin': a strong desire, craving  "I got a hankerin' for waffle house."

      waffle house: a 24 hour restaurant, serving diner food and breakfast allll daaayyy looooong!!!

heap: plenty, a plethora  "Boy's got a heap a money." (heap of pronounced "heap a")

hear tell: heard a rumor  "I hear tell that girl ran oft and got married."

like to/ liked to have: almost, was about to  "I like to screamed my head off when I saw that those 'coon eyes by the trash can."

      'coon: raccoon, they have reflective eyes in a flashlight beam

goose egg: zero, bruise or bump especially on the head  "Poor Casey got a goose egg on his head last weekend." 

prolly/ probaly: probably  "We should prolly be gettin' in the house right about now 'fore the skeeters come out."
      'fore: before
      skeeter: mosquito

purdy: pretty  "Ain't that a purdy little girl!"

fair to midlin': alright, fine, good  "Oh, I'm fair to midlin' thanks."

ruther/ druther: rather "I'd ruther/ I druther go to Stoby's."
druthers: preferences   "If I had my druthers, we'd be at waffle house."

      Stoby's: restaurant in Russleville and Conway, famous for cheese dip and chips

sho nuff: sure enough, that's right, for sure  "That boy's got a hot head. Sho nuff."

      got a hot head: impatient, quick to anger

tump over: to knock over, turn over  "I done tumped over my milk momma."

'et up: eaten up, bitten  "If you go out with all those skeeters, you're gonna get 'et up!" 

bless your pea-pickin' little heart: aww, poor you, a way of offering condolences "Well bless your pea-pickin' little heart. I'm so sorry to hear that..."

in the offing/ in the offin': in the future, coming up in the near future   "I got a surprise for you in the offin'" 

I know this one is a bit long, but I got excited!! LOL, let me know what you think!!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Talk Like an Arkansan



Hidey! (In Arkansas, we say hidey instead of howdy like in the west. This is not as common among young people.)

I thought today I would give you a small lesson on speaking like an Arkansan (ar-KAN-zan): that is, someone from Arkansas (AR-ken-saw).

The dialect of Arkansas is considered part of a grouping of "Southern" dialects, but is quite different than those found in the deep south. Sometimes it is referred to as the "Ozark" dialect. While it has differences from other southern accents, most Northern, Eastern, and Western Americans will identify the Ozark speaker as Southern.

Accents are quite varied even across Arkansas itself, with an especially marked difference between urban and rural speakers and also older generations vs. younger.

Most southern dialects are characterized by dropping "r" sounds which aren't followed by vowels. For example in the deep south you will hear people pronounce the word southern (SUH-thun) or Georgia (Jo-juh).

An Ozark speaker however will often heavily accent the "r" sound. For instance someone from Arkansas would pronounce southern (SUH-thern or suhth-ren). Any "er" sound will be quite pronounced. Sometimes they even add "r" sounds where there aren't any, for example (warsh) instead of  "wash."

Along with most southerners, the Ozark speaker will tend to make contractions of words.

  • y'all: you + all "Are y'all comin' to dinner?"
  • yunt: you + want "Yunt to go fishin'?"
  • wachu: what + you "Wachu eatin'?"
  • gonna: going + to "You gonna go to the fair?"
  • ain't: are/am + not "I ain't gonna hurt you." 
  • innit: isn't + it "It's a nice day outside, innit?"
Also similar to most southerners, Arkansans drop the "-ing" sound and prefer "-in" when using gerunds as in the examples above.

Sometimes the Ozark speaker may change vowel sounds. For example to is common to hear (ya/yuh), (ta/tuh) and (thar)  instead of "you" "to" and "there." 

Some other common words for Ozark speakers may include:
  • yonder: there, a distance away "The barn is over yonder."
  • any more: from now on "I'm not gonna do that any more." This is used differently from how mid-westerners use this phrase. We use it to mean a cessation of activity from this point forward where mid-westerns use it to mean  something like "presently" for example "Any more, I like to drink coke."
  • fixin' ta/ fixing to: about to, getting ready to "I'm fixin' ta go to town."
  • do what?: what did you say? could you repeat that?
Here are some videos which show the variety of accents in Arkansas. Most will read some words and answer questions, but when they are saying random things outside of the questions is when you can really get a feel for their accent.

It's a little bit of a stereotype, but the Beverly Hillbillies speak the Ozark Dialect! They don't sound much different from the people who live in the hills of North Arkansas. The funny phrases are not made up, real people do actually talk that way. If you notice in the first episode they mention going to Eureka Springs to see the "moving picture." That is in Northwest Arkansas ;-)

Northwest Arkansas, the most neutral Arkansas accent. A little more mid-western, less Ozark/Southern. This is where I live :-P:

Southern Arkansas:

These girls sound like Central Arkansas (where I grew up):

From South Missouri, but her accent is very similar to North Arkansas (same Region) similar to accent in some parts of Tennessee/Appalachians, however older generations tend to have this accent but more exaggerated:

Rural Arkansas (the guy with the horse) some of the people are laughing at his accent, but notice he doesn't care because Arkansans are a proud people:

West Arkansas (to me is very similar to Central Arkansas):

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Halaqah: Sorat al-Kafirun #109



Sorat al-Kafirun

word by word translation:

English Interpretation of the Meaning:
1. Say, "Oh Disbelievers!
2. I do not worship what you worship.
3. Nor are you worshipers of whom I worship.
4. Nor will I be a worshiper of what you worshiped.
5. Nor will you be worshipers of whom I worship.
6. To you be your religion and to me my religion."

Notes from the Tafsir:
It was reported that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam) was seen praying this surah and surat al-ikhlas during:

  • the two rakah of tawaf
  • the two rakah of sunnah before fajr
  • the two rakah after isha
The Makkans during this time tried to make a deal with the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam). They said they will worship Allah for a year, if he would worship their idols for a year. This surah was revealed in response.

Verses 2-5~ A complete disavowal of the religion of the pagans in makkah. 

Verse 6~ like the meaning of verse 10:41 (And if they belie you, say: 'For me are my deeds and for you are your deeds! You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do!")

Monday, May 21, 2012

Video: Science and Islam

Salam! Bismillah I came across this series of episodes from BBC about Science and Islam. As a physicist and a muslimah, I find these really fascinating! They cover the the Golden Age of Islam and the scientific developments encouraged and spearheaded by muslims. As the "western" world was living in the Dark Ages, muslims were gathering all of the intellectual gems from all over the world, translating them, and saving them for subsequent generations. If not for the muslim drive to preserve ancient knowledge and build on it, almost all of the works of the Greeks would have been lost... So please enjoy inshaAllah and learn about the contributions of muslims who are very seldom mentioned today! (as a side note, please note there are unislamic things happening in the video like smoking and such. also be aware that this is not a video about the religion of islam, but about the culture that arose as muslim leadership spread over the world.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Lesson on Arkansas

salam alaikum y'all!


Being a Muslim in Arkansas makes for a life that is very difficult to describe. My life is a surprising mix of exposure to many different cultures.

First, I live in the Bible Belt. The Bible Belt is large swath of the United States located in the South that is home to many many Christians chiefly of the Protestant variety and Baptist persuasion.

Here courtesy of Wikipedia, you see the Bible Belt with my home-state just about right smack-dab in the middle of it.
Arkansas is the state that looks like a funny square in the middle of that red mass there.

Being a member of the Bible Belt means that Arkansas tends to have a generally socially and religiously conservative population. For instance, I grew up in a dry county. This means that my county had voted to make the sale of alcohol illegal. The consumption of alcohol was not illegal, but you couldn't sell the stuff within our county. Another example; one of my ancestors was famous for getting kicked out of a Methodist congregation for dancing in the church.

Being in the Bible Belt also means raising your boys to be southern gentlemen. Sadly this principle is not quite as important as it once was, but is probably still more prevalent than in other parts of the country. For instance, when I converted to Islam and started wearing hijab, many men look at their shoes as I walked by in the store, held the door for me, and called me "ma'am." That is because it was easy to recognize me as a "lady" and that is how good southern boys learned to treat ladies.

Now, I am quite obviously Muslim on sight, and this has been known to cause some uncertain feelings for the good ol' boys, but alhamdulillah it hasn't caused me any serious trouble.

Second, I live in a Muslim community. This is like a second layer. Its a little bit like being in a no-so-secret club. We have our own greet and handshake and everything :-P

Living in a Muslim community means that I am introduced to many different cultures and languages and ideas and histories... It is one of the things I love most about Islam. Many people would be very very surprised to find so much diversity in Arkansas of all places. (I should be clear that Arkansas has a reputation for being a bit rural and backwards, although it really isn't that bad. Mississippi is much worse :-P)

Ok so that is kind of a brief introduction inshaAllah... I want to write some more about the culture I grew up in and the culture that I currently live in because I think it is fascinating. An anthropologists dream...
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