Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily Musings - On Stress, Thesis, Morocco Trip, Daughterly Love, ... and stuff

Yesterday, a friend mentioned that she's started playing the sitar as a means of easing her mind during this stressful time of the semester. She and I are both working on our theses right now, and that's sometimes the only thing we talk about these days. Our entire Spring Break was spent working on them, and the weather has been so beautiful lately that it feels like we're missing out on too much. InshaAllah, we're going to celebrate this Saturday!!!! This semester has been the busiest so far, almost painful.

Point was, she's started playing the sitar to remind herself that her health is far more important than anything else and that all this tension, this stress, these deadlines are important, but they don't have to consume our lives the way we often let them. And although I can't claim to have been working as hard as she has been working and I am not always as busy as I tell myself I am, I did realize I need to spend some time with myself at least every other day to not forget the reason I'm "stressed." And then I realized how much I miss blogging! Last semester, I'd tell myself that "Okay, qrratu, if you get this thing done, then you get to blog! Cool? Otherwise, you can't blog!" So meeting my deadlines had an incentive. But then I realized how cruel that was. Seriously, why be so vicious to myself when there's plenty of other vicious people around to be vicious to us, ya?

So, just to update y'all :) I'm doing well. I'm okay. Health is good, alhamdulillah, and when the health is good, there's little more we can ask for. I'm going to Morocco this summer, inshaAllah, and knowing that my parents support my program at Morocco, I'm so happy I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and love for them. May God grant them healthy, peaceful, happy, long lives, aameen. It was beautiful, you see. I told them about my department's plan for me to study Arabic abroad this summer, my parents were hesitant to give their blessings and asked, "Look, is this REALLY necessary?" I reminded them of its importance--but also that I can't do this unless I have their blessings and approval and unless they're also perfectly happy with it. I asked them to think about it, and they did ... and then my dad calls me and tells me I can go ... ohhh it was such a precious moment!!! All those generational, cultural clashes--being stuck between two cultures (Pashtun and American and all)--were washed away, and it was the most wonderful feeling ever. And in English, I got to tell them, "Thank you, Ami and Baba, thank you!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!" God bless them infinitely, aameen.

School's also going well. Went to several conferences this semester (part of the reason the semester was so stressful!!), but they were all worth it. You guys read about the Qur'an one, yeah? Today, I gave a lecture to an undergraduate class on Islam & Love, which encompasses gender relations, marriage, sex and sexuality. I learned how difficult it is to understand and explain the difference between "acknowledging" something as "wrong" even as you do it (e.g., drinking alcohol or not praying) versus doing something or NOT doing it but "denying" that it's wrong. I was trying to explain to the students, for example, how Islamic law--or at least Muslims from a certain time period and certain tradition, such as the mystical tradition from the classical and medieval eras--does not consider desire for someone of the same sex or gender unacceptable or wrong or forbidden, but, according to the majority opinion, it's acting on that desire that's unacceptable/forbidden. So, the students asked what happened if someone did act on that desire. And that's when I understood how difficult it is to explain that "according to the law/religion/religious scholars, it never becomes 'ok' just because you do it, but you still have to acknowledge that you've done wrong. You're still taught and are expected to repent and avoid doing it again ever. And when you do commit sin/wrong, you're not supposed to publicize it--and there are punishments with certain guidelines and criteria for different crimes/sins, like fornication or adultery or drinking...but not such for missing prayer. So the acknowledgment is a more personal thing, something between you and God."

In the cases in which the topic of "desire for same sex person" vs "acting on that desire" is discussed, it's desire not just for any person of the same sex but for young boys (loved/desired by older men). I wrote about this briefly in a comment to the post on "Muslim Homosexual's Interaction with People of the Same Gender. You can read more about this issue of desire vs act business in this fascinating and illuminating book: Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800.

Back to me. Gosh, you'd think I can't spend a moment to talk about myself, ya? So I was saying ... really, I'm doing okay, hamdulillah. Just wait for this thesis to be over, and I shall be blogging a lot more ... no, wait, didn't I just say I'm telling myself I should blog more, even if it's just to take 30 minutes out of the day? It feels wonderful to blog, and I need this break with myself every single day. So I should be blogging more often anyway. Problem is, there's so much to write/talk/tell about that sometimes I feel overwhelmed just thinking about blogging. Writing on the above topic, for example.... or on the history of the compilation of the Qur'an ... or on my thesis ... or on the various schools of thought (in Islam) that developed, how they developed, why, what kinds of questions/issues they disagreed upon, etc... or on those qualities/attributes of God that have been discussed and debated heavily among Islamic scholars for centuries. These kinds of writings require time and references, and time is the thing I'm struggling with currently. I feel guilty doing anything non-related to my thesis! When I read for fun, I feel guilty, but the trick these days is to connect whatever I read--e.g., Love InshaAllah--to my thesis, even if the connection is very small and stuff! :D

Other than that, nothing more to say ...  Oh, yes! I've been drinking lots and lots of ginger tea and green tea lately! Been taking care of my health :) Even started running more often now. Still missing Kashmala (the 3-year-old niece of mine who's the most adorable and most beautiful thing you all know you've ever seen, mashAllah), but I get to talk to her a lot. She has her own phone now [insert raised-eyebrow emoticon here] so she's always calling me, day and night. If I don't pick up, she warns me and stuff. 

k, good day to y'all! Be happy! Be healthy! Be yourself!

~ the me

1 comment:

  1. lol. This is such a sweet post :) thank you for sharing it! I dont know how i misssed it!


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