growing

Under the shade of a cottonwood
could is mantra
i think i can
i think i can
i can
therefore I am
in the midst of tall grasses
floating butterflies
like clay, cassius
buzzing bees in harmonies
harmoniums and soliloquies
soil between toes
food growing in rows and rows
roses and rosehips
smiling babies on hips
beneath vast new mexican sky
mountain water alive.
God is wind whispering
and leaves dancing
God is green
and brown
and deep wet sand color
God is pillow white cloud
and blades of grass reaching for them
God is full moon rising
in shadow of new moon setting

the waves of change
growth
the comings
goings
Grandness and gentleness
the shhhhhhh of June
and rains of july

the breeze only sings
because trees are there to dance and sway
this is the way of the mountain
the depth of this foundation
goes beyond down-
but back up again
rooted in heavens
nestled securely in earth
i think i can,
grow
just like cottonwood tree
just like tarragon leaves
just like my sweet safi

i think i can
God put that in me too.

Katya

This is real life. She was a real little girl. Her little body has gone back to the Earth as her soul has returned to God. The Syrian struggle for freedom continues. Whatever you believe about who is right and who is wrong or who is a terrorist and who is not- say a little prayer for this angel. Save the children, God. Ya Rahman.

Via my little sister Noor:

This is Katya. I met her 1 year and 54 days ago (when I took this photo), just a few days before the school near Qah Refugee Camp opened. For many kids, it was their first time back at school in 2 or 3 years.
Today, Katya’s school was bombed via one of Assad’s MiG planes. She and her friend Shams were in the playground. Shams (name meaning “Sun”) was killed on impact. Katya is in a coma. This is the Syria that we are ignoring. Displaced, hungry schoolchildren aching to play and learn…and they meet their demise. For what crime??

Read about the incident from the school’s keepers:
جيل الحرية | Generation Freedom| Generation Freedom
http://www.sada.pro/شمس-جيل-الحرية-في-مدينة-قاح،-تفارق-الحي/#.U10FHCqncuN

——

An update to all people of conscience: Katya succumbed to her wounds and passed earlier today after being in a coma for 5 days. Whatever your beliefs, say a prayer and send some good thoughts to her family. Rest in peace, Katya. I’m sorry we have failed you and so many other Syrian children who are forced to flee their homes only to face bombardment and death in their displacement </3

A Luxurious Life

Today Safi and I took a walk up the mountain to our spring. MashaAllah, the flowing water never ceases to expand my heart. Safi enjoyed it so much he was snoring in a minute’s time. It’s a gorgeous spring day here. The aspens are exploding with lime leafage and the mountain side it turning a very becoming shade of very alive green! But before you start envying me….wait:

This life is hard.

It’s not easy or idyllic most of the time. Generally it’s a struggle not to have running water in our homes. Having a baby has really driven this point home for me. A lot of you think I’m crazy for choosing this life, I know. A one room straw & bail house with no bathroom and no running water. Sounds like a nightmare…I know. That’s what I thought before I lived it. I didn’t think I could do it. I didn’t think I had the courage or the desire to live without the simple luxury of running water. I’m finding that I do have the courage and that I can indeed do it!  It’s crazy, the thought of peeing outside, right? It’s crazy to think about pooping straight into a giant hole dug into the Earth with a little wooden house over it, right? Crazy. I know.

Yes, I think it’s crazy too. But I think not living this way is crazy too. I think God will ask us on the day of judgement about our running water. I think He will want to know how much garbage waste we produced. I think we will have to account for our dollars spent – did our money support slavery? Did it support structures that were unjust? Did it make for a greater divide between the “1st and 3rd worlds?”
We have choices. We have choices to live simpler, cleaner lives. We have the choice to live lives free from the constraints of “what’s in” or “out.” We have the choice to live conscientious lives. In truth, I feel closer to the rest of my human family by living this life. I feel closer to the One who made us because of this life.  It reminds me that clean running water is a luxury. Clean eating and good food are a luxury. I’m coming to understand that luxury means very different things depending on who you ask.

I feel spoiled to drink water that comes straight out of my mountain—-to me it is a true luxury. I feel luxurious to eat food that is grown from this Earth without any help from corporations or conglomerates. Just good old dirt, sun, water and a lil sprinkle of love. It all sounds fine and dandy right? But then you have to use an outhouse and compost all your organic waste. You have to carry water to your home and use it consciously so you don’t run out before you can get more.

I’m a normal girl who went to normal high school who went on to normal college who lived in a normal house in a normal neighborhood with normal friends and family. Now I live this life that isn’t so “normal.” I didn’t think I could do it. I’m not any different than you. I’m not superwoman with superwoman powers. I’m not some rugged mountain hiking bad ass chick. I’m just this girl out of Flint, Mi and here I am living on a mountain because I believe the Earth has rights over me and I hope to fulfill them. I believe I deserve to drink pristine water without chemicals in it and eat food that was engineered in a lab but by God’s perfect original engineering. I believe in this kind of luxury. The luxury of living in a way that draws us nearer to our Creator. InshaAllah.

Ladies, Don’t be fooled…

Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts and musings. The following should not be seen as any kind of religious ruling.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are “unclean.”

pffft

So often when I’ve been invited to perform for Muslim audiences, I meet amazing young and SUPER accomplished Muslim women and they all have the same inferiority complex- more on this in a minute. Usually I prefer to spend the night at their homes rather than in hotels even though it’s not always the most convenient or luxurious accommodation but this is definitely my preference and I’ll tell you why….

We stay up late talking about issues only other Muslim women have dealt with or understand. It’s a rare opportunity for “real talk” where we can all be candid and open. Things often come out in these conversations…deep dark secrets, guilty pleasures, guilt in general and what have you.

One of the things that always comes up is the question of why girls cannot read/hold the Quran while bleeding. These girls often feel bad and are raised to believe that they are less than and are incapable of connection during their menses.  Now I am not a scholar of any sort; nor am I divinely inspired by God and have visions or revelations so everything I say here is purely my opinion based on the saying of the prophet Muhamad, prayers and peace be upon him, “Seek the counsel of your heart, even if/when advised by people.”

I believe that women can and should hold and read Quran while bleeding.

I know what you’re thinking….”Where are you getting this from, Mona? You’ve studied Shafi’i fiqh. How can you go against something that is generally agreed upon by the 4 schools of thought?”

Let’s keep in mind that in the time of Prophet Muhamad, there was no written, compiled Quran. This notion is based on the idea that a woman is cannot be ritually cleansed while on her period and thus should not touch the Quran. It is based on the verse “None shall touch it but the purified ones.” 56:79

It is my understanding that this verse refers to the tablet(lawh) and the angels. This verse was assurance that Allah sent the words of the Quran with purified beings who had no will of their own and thus would not alter, affect or change the message. The “touch” mentioned is an altering and not a physical touch.  This verse does not indicate that we must be in a state of ritual purity while “touching” the physical book. While it is recommended that one be in a state of wudu while reading, as this increases the reward, it is not haram to touch or read while not in this state.

Don’t be fooled, ladies; When you’re bleeding, you are in a constant state of prayer and thus are exempt from needing to enter into a physical state of prayer. Your heart is torn open by the One who made it and made you bleed during this time. Are you not more emotional when you bleed?  Your emotions are deepened and your openings are heightened. Tears are closer to the surface during these days. Hearts are more tender. God has ennobled us with this time of deeper connection. Call it hormones or call it a spiritual experience, our periods are a way to connect with our Creator. God has gifted us in this spiritually open time, a week of each month where we are majthubīn, we are pulled to the One by a force or event that we do not have to choose to engage. It is simply the way we were created. Perfectly.

In my personal experience, some of my favorite and most cherished moments with my Creator happen while I am bleeding. This blood connects me to my mothers: Hawa, Maryam, Amina, Khadija, and Aisha, my ancestors and made it possible for my beloved RasulAllah to be born into this world.

It isn’t a hatred for men or any such thing that causes me to say that those who have interpreted much of Islam are generally men from patriarchal societies. This is a historical fact. Their readings and interpretations are often misogynistic and patriarchal. They are not infallible beings. While we respect their opinions and interpretations, we can also approach these matters from the feminine perspective with respect and true critical thinking.

Would Allah command a woman to cease interaction with the words sent down with the precise expectation that she would and should interact with them? Would Allah deny a woman a week of every month of her childbearing years in which she was not allowed to interact with the Divine word? Would Allah put a woman in the position of distance and separation when connection to Creator is the mission of our lives?

My heart has a “no” to these questions.

Our mother,  Aisha (God be pleased with her) said, “The Messenger of God, prayers and peace be upon him said to me,
‘Get me the prayer mat from the prayer area.’ I replied, ‘I am menstruating.’ He said, ‘Verily, your menstruation is not in your hand.’
[Muslim]

I don’t feel the need to go deeper into the matter than RasulAllah did in the above narration.

And Allah knows best.

 

 

Hineni

Clear sky, blue.
Evergreens snow capped peaks.
White mimics sky cloud white.
Wiped clean of thoughts.
Only God. Here I am.
Moses to Jesus to Muhamad.
Here I am.
only God.
Buddha inside Rio Grande gorge.
Om.
Ripping open delicious desire
to be
closer.
closer.
Here I am.
Birdsongs beckoning heartsongs sung.
Here is where Presence presents herself.
Here is when there is only God. only now.
Crisp light, sunny warmth.
Dripping melting moisture into Earth.
Here I am.
Feeding the feeding. feeling the fullness.
Here I am.
Only God.
Mother of dirt, blackness, rich soil.
Puddles, pebbles. Clean green scented.
Streaming down mountainside.
Exposing sparkle. musty musk.
Here I am.

Maternity & Mercy

A month or two ago, I was entering the masjid to teach sunday school and as always said the duaa:

        اَللَّهمَّ افتحْ لي أَبوَابَ رَحمتِكَ

    “God, Open for me the doors of your mercy.”

It struck me. deeply. That morning, after praying fajr I thought about my womb and the One who made it. I thought about the One who called himself the most merciful, by connecting mercy to maternity.  In Arabic, the name of God “AL-RAHMAN” means “The Merciful” and the root of the word mercy- is “RHM” which means “womb.” As I entered the masjid, I was overwhelmed by receiving the glad tidings of the prayer that would get me through labor. “God, Open for me the doors of your mercy.” Open this mercy to the world. I prayed- Let me remember these words as I am in the pains of birthing. Let me breathe Mercy through this prayer as my body opens to deliver mercy. Let this child be mercy to the world, in the tradition of his teacher and master, Muhammad alayhisalaam.

I found it to be such an obvious prayer for a woman in labor, but have never heard of it used in this way. I know I will be calling on my Lord in many of His Divine attributes through that time- but Ya Rahman just seems like….the right one. Doesn’t it?  Salawat on the Prophet bring such ease to the heart and so much so that I feel it will be a time of great repetition of those beautiful salutations and prayers. I pray that my heart and lips will find the right words to make this time in my life gentle, sweet, safe and fruitful…full of mercy and grace!

I’d love to hear of prayers that helped you through a time in your life. There are so many duaas for so many different parts of life that are encouraged as they are from the tradition and life of the Prophet. I would however like to hear of the prayers that came to you through your own inspiration….

love,
mona

Lama Love

So this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute- just sit right there – let me tell you all about how I got my Lama flair. I used to love The fresh prince of bell air. still do actually. Anyhow…
I came to this place called Lama Foundation on May 18th(my birthday!) 2012. I’ve basically been living here since. SubhanAllah how life presents itself and lays itself out when you least expect it. Long story short:
I fell in love with Lama Mountain. I fell in love with Lama Foundation. I fell in love with my husband who was the first person I met when I arrived here. We’re now expecting our first child inshaAllah (duaas please!) We both live and work here full time.

What a shift in direction my life has taken! SubhanAllah. Had someone told me a year and a half ago that this is what my life looked like, I probably would have told you that you were sooo “trippin.” I was too busy traveling, performing- being an obnoxious artist. Not that I’m any less obnoxious now. I’ve just settled down a bit! ;)

Life here isn’t as glamorous as it looks on my instagram….(@radayhanom on insta). Needless to say “living close to the Earth” in a sustaianable way, is beautiful- but it certainly hasn’t been easy. The little luxuries of having a bathroom let alone running water in your home are things I don’t take for granted anymore. It gets bitter cold up here on the mountain. Making my way from my little house to Lama central for morning meditation every morning is like gearing up for the arctic (not really… but it’s cold as a mug!) We have wood burning stoves for heat in our little homes here. For bathrooms, we have outhouses. But if you have to pee…don’t even think about peeing in the outhouse buddy. We pee straight on the Earth. The nitrogen in urine is good for trees and plants. I figure if the Prophet Muhammad, alayhisalaam- did his business in the wildreness- who am I to be too good for it!? It was hard to get used to, that is not something I can sugar coat. It was really hard early on to convince myself to squat outside in the middle of God’s Earth. But alas, I got used to it and now can’t really understand why in God’s gorgeous names, as a culture/society we pee and poop into perfectly good drinking water?! Anyhow, living off the grid- in houses that run on the Sun’s energy and not propane is me kind of living out my dreams in many weird ways. Composting, permaculture, solar power, alternative lifestyles, off the grid, far from bustling city life, deep in nature, sacred mountain spring water, etc etc etc. Too many things to list but God knows…I am grateful for these blessings!

So far, I’ve loved community life. It’s been kind to me. Someone does my laundry. There’s a designated person to cook each evening. We share our spiritual practices with one another each morning. There are countless reasons this place has been a huge teacher on my path. More on the lessons later. I just thought I’d share a little bit about my life lately.

love love,
mona

Alhmdulilah

I’m inspired to write about my life but feel unworthy of the words.
Alhmdulilah-
the only sentiment that doesn’t sentence me to guilt.
My life is full bodied flavor but insipid and insolent
at the crisis inside and outside
Torn between the goodness and content with the misery.
Dear God, I’m done with me.
Alhmdulilah.

It’s been a while…

Sam7ooni…
forgive me…

It’s been a while since I wrote here. There are many reasons for that. My life has been full, but that’s no excuse. My real heart reason is that I’m tired of my own words because they break my heart. All I can seem to write about in the last 2 years is Syria. My sweet Cham. How I long to be there…to smell the scent of the jasmine lining the streets…to watch children play barefoot soccer in the street….

These are the only words that come to me now- the longing for peace and sweetness in Syria- the mourning for martyrs- and the destruction of my most favorite place on God’s Earth (after Madina.)

I hope you will forgive my absence. It was not ignorant neglect that kept me from writing here- but heart break and the deep belly nausea caused by seeing too many pictures of bloody bodies strewn across the streets of my beloved Syria.

I fear for my people that this world will only watch them burn. I fear for the world that they will only watch my people burn. I fear for the souls of those who do nothing. I fear for love. We cannot be love unless we give love. My heart is broken.

Allah, Our hearts are broken for you. You’ve promised that you are with the hearts broken for your sake. Heal our broken hearts. Uplift our broken spirits. Bring victory to the oppressed. Give us sweet love, Allah. Our hearts need sweet love.
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::أنا عند المنكسرة قلوبهم من أجلي:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

-m