We interrupt this programme for a public service reminder:

feminist-aspiring cis het men are such a fucking disappointment

you may now go about your business.

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I have been imamah for two Friday prayers since Muharram started. They were inclusive and queer and beautiful. And awkward and gentle and trepidatious and brilliant. Queer jamaat is beautiful. Alhamdulillah.

Babies

I’m afraid to bring a male-bodied child into this world. Because I’m not sure he won’t be an asshole. A Pakistani, Sunni-born, male Muslim child in Pakistan, born in a queer household. What could go wrong? What could go right?

There are so many cishet assholes. So many cis assholes. So many assholes.

Sign, Symbol, Signifier

Accidentally, without noticing, I was using Qur’anic verses as guides to my day. I decided, somehow, that whatever thought process or algorithm or randomizer operates the “ayat of the day” feature of most Muslim and Qur’an apps was somehow also/in actuality a sign from God to pay attention to. And then I would contemplate it.

Now, getting into Tarot, I’m thinking that about faal nikalna and I’m thinking about the idea that if you did pick an ayat a day at random or by some kind of non-rational means, what would happen? Is it okay for it to signify something to you? From the Divine?

And even if you don’t, is there a way to see the ayat as the sign that it is, sitting in the moment that you’re in now? By sign that it is I mean that the word ayat itself means sign in Arabic. So it acutally Is a Sign of God. What do you do then, fully in the moment with that Sign of God?

the azaan is calling me since yesterday and i’m decidedly not listening. what’s my problem?

News of some sort

A friend’s childhood abuser died today. Of multiple shitty injuries. Before I knew it was him that died, I already sent on a prayer for his easy passing into Allah’s grace. I didn’t take it back once I found out, but. I apologized to my friend for the prayer. My friend replied that it’s okay, we have to pray.

I’m glad he’s dead and that he died of horrible illnesses and auzubillah because that’s a horrible feeling to put out in the world any of us can be abusers. All of us have been. Of some kind. Haven’t we? Or am I easing my conscience? There’s a good bedtime question. Ugh.

My friend is free now in certain spaces. Family spaces. Freer. I pray free.

Allah protect us from this.

Promises

I made a lot of promises to God when I was younger. Promises that I would be good if he would just explain to me whether it’s okay to be gay, I would be so good. Until I promised I would be lesbo-celibate until I got the answer.

I broke that promise. I made it when I was 19 and I broke it when I was 20. I felt like I should feel bad. But I didn’t feel too bad. A friend told me we weren’t meant to make those promises. And I accepted that but I felt uneasy about it. All those stories from Islamiat class about all those Sahaba punishing themselves, holding long vigils, depriving themselves and being stoic for God. And here I am.

At 40 I know: you cannot promise Allah that you won’t be human. It is the wrong promise. I bet it makes Allah sad for us, when we do that. When we say I’ll try to be bigger better more angelic more ardent i’ll try to be as good as the Prophet I’ll try.

You cannot promise Allah that you will not be human. Allah doesn’t want that promise.

Sweet Mozzy Moments

I’m sitting at a Khaleeji airport and a very strange thing has happened. Strange to me anyway.

In a quiet lounge type place off to the side, a few minutes after I sat down, a man in his fifties came in and spread his janamaz and started praying. He was just praying your regular Sunni Zuhr prayer, minding his business. Another man comes in, rushes over to him, takes off his shoes and stands next to him. At first I thought, okay, so he’s just joining in in the prayer space.

But then suddenly the first man, the one that had been there from the start, begins to recite his Allahu Akbars loudly, like he’s leading. And the man next to him falls into that rhythm.

The man doing imamat shortens his prayer to 2 raka’at, because now he’s in jamaat prayer. He does salam. And the second man stands up and finishes the rest of his prayer that he’d missed because he joined in late.

Then they say their sunnat raka’at separately, as you do, and when they’re done, they chatting in Arabic, talking about what I assume is uncle chat. The second man isn’t old enough to be an uncle, but you know how men are.

The thing is: I didn’t know you could do that, or that people did that. And why would I? I’m a desi woman who’s learning congregational ritual life in her middle adulthood. But it seems to me what happened is an individual ritual moment of communion, in which one human is oriented to Allah, became a collective ritual moment, in which both are oriented to Allah, but also to each other. They are oriented in concert. One made room for the other, changed his orientation of share the space of prayer and to fundamentally shift his prayer, mid-prayer.

Which, when you think about it, is an oddly wonderful sort of sunnah. Rasul Allah ﷺ changed his qibla mid-prayer when God commanded in the middle of Asr that the qibla be shifted from Jerusalem to Makkah.

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