sidq

come on now. why do we have to be so formal? let’s be truthful here.
let’s speak with the sharp tongue of Sidq,
cutting away syntax and rhetoric and measure.
lets be all e e cummings about it
and let our words flow with no thought to punctuation or the brevity of a line or the length of it
and be real.
lets leave behind the shackles of the ‘chicago manual of style’
or sibawayhi’s magnum opus
and let our hearts do the talking.

let them speak of gardens beyond the reach of human imagination
beyond the scope of words or the meanings of words
let them speak of knowledge that cannot be derived from studying
the black and white pattern of pen to paper
nor the sophisticated articulation of the scholar
but only felt with the beat of the heart
libraries full of wasted words
failed attempts at describing
what can only be tasted.

how can you put into words, tell me
the searing ache and bitterness
of not knowing Him.
the shrivelling and darkness of the heart
broken and seeking.
looking for comfort in all the wrong places.

how about the foolish traveller
making his way through desert and blinding sun
searching out a quenching for the thirst thats killing him,
and not realizing that it lies within his own self.

thats us. dizzy and stirred on by this deep longing
our hearts travelling ancient lands and deserts
with this utter craving that overwhelms us
but beyond our tongues ability to describe

to know Him, to love Him, to be loved by Him.

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Published in: on December 29, 2006 at 9:57 am  Comments (4)  

Nawa

It was bitter cold the first time we went to Nawa. I remember wearing layer upon layer of black, gloves, a thick scarf over another, a muffler wrapped around my neck. It was early morning right before Eid, on the Day of Arafah. The trip was unofficially planned by some of the brothers, and word got around, as it somehow always does. Nawa is the home town of Imam Nawawi, a scholar of fiqh from the seventh century after Hijra.

We walked towards the masjid where we were to meet, and waited, and waited. You have to get used to this in Shaam: often, being on time means that you’re early. We watched as the small shops around the masjid began to open, setting up their wares. A man set out croissants on a table in front of his grocery store. An old woman sat in an empty space between two shops, settling a few crates of apples and oranges in front of her to sell to passersby.

It was just after sunrise. We could hear some recitation going on inside the masjid, so I went in to see what was happening. At Abou Nour, the sisters’ prayer area is three floors, overlooking the brothers’ prayer area. I remember when I first visited it, I felt like a princess in one of those elevated balconies at a coliseum, watching a performance going on below.

Looking down I saw a group of about thirty men sitting behind an imam, all with their hands raised, praying for forgiveness… “Ya Allah, we are knocking on Your door, so do not turn us away. Please forgive us on this special day, this day of Arafah, and forgive us thereafter. Ya Allah, do not allow us to leave this masjid without your forgiveness being sent down upon us, and do not allow this day to be complete without forgiving the hujjaj at Mt. Arafah…”

I returned outside, and slowly people began to gather. There are about twenty-five of us, that pile into a small, beat-up old bus. No heat. I take the window seat, and cover my face with my muffler niqab style. It’s so early. I want to sleep. But it’s so cold, and the rumbling and up and down movement of the bus prevents me from rest. I push the curtain away from the window, and watch as we pass through Damascus. Shops are still closed, the streets are empty; it’s all urban sprawl and cement. We exit the city, a long strip of highway ahead of us and empty landscape: rough rocky sand, mountains in the distance, and sometimes nothing at all but the road and morning fog. The sky a bleak gray, the sun somewhere unseen.

We start to see houses, spread far apart, colorful in a dusky way; that faded orange, that miami kind of light green, terra cotta. The houses are small squares, little more than shacks, with colorful clothing hanging on the rooftops, and sometimes a carpet hung half way down to be dried by the sun. They are the only spots of bright color in the otherwise muted surroundings. There are some bedouins, walking with their skinny sheep or goats, red and white checkered cloths tied back from their sun-beaten faces. It reminds me of India.

Nawa is a small town. We see garages, worn down buildings, nothing higher than two stories, chalky styled writing painted on the fronts of buildings instead of proper signs. Slowly everything takes on the name ‘Imam Nawawi’ – whose grave we came to see. ‘Imam Nawawi Bookstore’; ‘Imam Nawawi Groceries’; ‘Imam Nawawi Butcher’. He’s the home-town hero here.

The graveyard where he is buried is small, and at an incline. There are small headstones and plaques marking the other graves, jutting out between a few pieces of wild grass, some encircled by small stones. There’s a path leading upwards, to the top of the hill, where his maqam is: there, there is a squat square building, about the size of a room, with no roof. As you look at it from the entry of the graveyard, you see long, stark branches stretching out from within. At this hour there’s an interesting play of light and shadow and the room actually seemed to have an inner glow.

nawa-picture.jpg

We enter. There is only a huge tree, expansive at it’s base with high branches reaching out to the sky. There are no leaves. The floor around the tree has been tiled; around the edge of the room is a ledge for people to sit. One wall has a number of plaques, explaining who Imam Nawawi was, his greatness as a scholar and his contributions to Islamic history.

There’s a cloth hung on a branch from the tree; attached to some strings that somehow is able to enclose part of the area for women. I pull the curtain around me and sit. The brothers sit on the other side, and one of them gives a talk on Imam Nawawi’s life. He was a phenomenal scholar, who dedicated his entire life to learning, never marrying for fear that he could not give his wife her proper rights while so immersed in study. He would take something like sixteen classes a day, and he would never ‘go’ to sleep; only when he fell asleep in his books would he take his rest. He like us, came from his hometown to Damascus to study, and he made good use of his time; and we should do the same. Almost every Muslim household in the world has a copy of his famous work, Riyadh as-Saliheen; he is the foremost scholar in the Shafi’i school; and his wide acceptance and his love by the generality of Muslims, of all methodologies and schools of thought, is a good sign, of Allah’s pleasure.

The story of his maqam: Imam Nawawi was a Shafi’i, and the prevalent opinion in the Shafi’i school is that it is not permitted to build structures over graves; and he specifically requested that nothing be built on his grave after he died. After he passed away, people went against his wishes, and built a structure over his grave anyway, including a dome. After some time, it is said that a tree began to grow, until it toppled the dome entirely.

I’m not really into all that ‘heebie-jeebie’ stuff people say they encounter at the graves of righteous people (for lack of a better expression), and having visited a number of graves here in Damascus and in the surrounding area I can say that I know that at least for myself, I am not one who normally has amazing spiritual experiences at them. but, I did feel something at this grave. A calmness, a settling, a disconnection almost from everyday worries and thoughts. I made many resolutions there, of things I wanted to accomplish and do with my time in Damascus. I can’t say if that came from something Allah blessed that place with, or from an internal state.

Some women entered my enclosed area, three Syrian ladies, older in age, who lived nearby. After asking me some questions about where I was from, our group, etc., they gave me some candy and invited me to their house for tea.

On our way back to Damascus, I watched as the sun embraced that same barren landscape and gave it life and color. There is something about these types of experiences that are beautiful and difficult at the same time. They are intense and heavy. It’s something that Allah will ask me about I’m sure: I gave you this experience that moved your soul, even just for a moment. What did you do with it? Where are its fruits in your life?

And it’s also intensely beautiful, because from it I know the grace and kindness of Allah upon me. Who am I, that Allah brought me to this experience, opened my heart to its beauty, and moved me? What did I do to deserve or earn that? It’s not from me, or because of me, but Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala. From His generosity, that He not only teaches us how to get close to Him, but that He helps us get there, step by step.

That God should love me is more wonderful
Than that I so imperfectly love Him.
My reason is mortality, and dim
Senses; His–oh, insupportable–
Is that He sees me. Even when I pull
Dark thoughts about my head, each vein and limb
Delights Him, though remembrance in Him, grim
With my worst crimes, should prove me horrible.

And He has terrors that he can release.
But when He looks He loves me; which is why
I wonder; and my wonder must increase
Till more of it shall slay me. Yet I live,
I live; and He has never ceased to give
This glance at me that sweetens the whole sky.

Mark van Doren

Published in: on December 28, 2006 at 8:44 pm  Comments (5)  

poem: Arrival

As salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

“Dear Damascus Dreams,

Why are you posting so much these days? Aren’t you supposed to be like studying and learning Arabic or something over there?

Signed,

A Concerned Reader.”

Dear Concerned Reader,

That’s a very good question! I’ve got the studying blues these days for some reason, which means I’m spending a lot of time daydreaming and not too much time doing any real work… but I have exams starting this Sunday, so that’ll bring me back to my senses I think 🙂 In the mean time, enjoy the frequent posting and don’t ask too many questions 😉

—-

Here is a beautiful poem that one of my teachers mentioned in class the other day…

naseem al-waSli habba ‘ala an-nudaama
fa askarahum wa maa sharibu mudaama
wa naadaahum ‘ibaadiy laa tanaamu
yanaalu al-waSla man hajara al-manaama
yanaalu al-waSla man sahara al-layaali
‘aala al-aqdaami wa istaHlaa al-qiyaama
famaa maqSooduhum jannaatu ‘adnin
wa laa al-Hooru al-hisaanu wa laa al-khiyaama
siwaa naTHr al-Jaleeli wa dhaa munaahum
wa haadha maTlabu al-qawmil-kiraama

The gentle breeze of Arrival embraces the penitent ones
And intoxicates them, though they drank not a sip of wine.
And it calls them, ‘O my Servants, sleep not (this night…)
Arrival is for those who forsake sleeping.
Arrival is for those who stay up at night
Upon their feet, and taste sweetness in devotion.’
Their object is not the Eternal Garden,
Nor it’s pure Companions nor it’s lofty tents,
But only vision of the Sublime,
Of He who can grant their every desire;
And for this the noble aspire and yearn.

 (al-Wasl: connection to Allah (swt), arriving in His presence, full consciousness, awareness and knowledge of Him.)

May Allah make us people of Qiyaam, and people with hearts connected with Him; and people who are honored by the vision of His Noble Countenance in the hereafter, Ameen.

Pray for tawfiq in my studies,

salaam

Published in: on December 20, 2006 at 12:47 pm  Comments (3)  

rain

as salaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah,

Here’s something I wrote last winter about the scarcity of rain in Damascus… unfortunately, the same thing is happening this year… may Allah shower beneficial rain upon Shaam this year, ameen.

—-

In Damascus last year, winter approached us in disguise.

We were told, before we made our journey here, that winters in Syria were surprisingly cold: chilly, with lots of rain, and on occasion in the foregoing years the streets of Damascus and its surrounding area were actually covered with snow. So as the last months of the year approached, we began to brace ourselves to endure a cold and bitter season. However, as October slipped into November, the rain, snow, and unpleasant weather did not make an appearance. The days were uncommonly warm, some days even hot, and walks to school or the souq or various places in our neighborhood were pleasant, the sun shining overhead and the breeze mild. Our laundry continued to hang on the corded lines outside our balcony to be dried by the sun, and all the other balconies were ornamented in much the same way well into the winter months.

Somehow, November quickly turned into December, and instead of enjoying the uncommonly pleasant weather, the people of Damascus began to worry. Rain was a much needed resource for the country’s agriculture and for the well being of the crops, the animals, and the people alike. Eyes scanned the sky each day for signs of rain, but the sun continued to shine and embrace everyone with its September-like warmth. People began to wonder: Where is the rain?

Never before had I thought so much about this often overlooked blessing from Allah: rain from the heavens. How much we depend on Allah even for the simplest things, and how helpless we are without His generosity to us.

Instead of brushing off this change in weather as a mere result of atmosphere and temperature changes, the people of Syria had a shared sensitivity about these matters, and about their connection to Allah’s mercy and His displeasure. The khutbahs and lessons at the masjid and schools began to center around this topic: Why are we being deprived of rain? Allah doesn’t deprive a people without reason; we need to seek His forgiveness. We know from the traditions of Rasulullah, salAllahu alayhi wasalam, that a people are not deprived of rain unless they withhold zakah, or they have fallen into many sins. We need to make amends so that we are worthy of this blessing from Allah the Most High.

Once or twice, dark clouds wrote a promise of rain above Damascus; but nothing fell from the sky.

Finally, it was decided to perform Salatul Istisqaa – the prayer for rain (literally, ‘the prayer for seeking the quenching of thirst’) that was performed by the Prophet, salAllahu alayhi wa salam, on the occasion of drought, and that should be performed by any people who encounter the same. This prayer must be done by all the people of an area at one time, and in one place. Everyone should come in their work clothes, simple and unrefined, to show a sense of humbleness. It is from the sunnah that half way through his khutbah, the khatib actually takes off his outer garment (worn over the thaub) and turns it inside out and wears it that way… I’m assuming to show humility and a sense of urgency in the request. The date was set for Friday the 16th of November, a little after the middle of winter had passed, with no rain having yet fallen. It was planned to take place at Masjid al-Umawiyy, that ancient site in which so many righteous people prayed, and sought knowledge, and found closeness to Allah.

As we waited for a taxi that morning, I looked upwards and saw the sky completely gray, as if promising rain, just as it looked the entire day before. Yet the sky did not shed a single tear as we made our way to Masjid al-Umawiyy.

That morning, the masjid, the largest I’ve ever seen, hugely expansive with room for thousands, began to fill slowly, and was, in less than an hour, filled to its entire capacity. The salah was performed, the khutbah said, and finally the duaa… Thousands of hands turned towards the heavens, asking Allah to bless us with His generosity…

O Allah, bless us with rain, the beneficial of it and not the harmful of it; bless us with it now, and not later.

O Allah, You have promised us that if we call upon You, You will answer us. Here we are before You, so O Allah, fulfill Your promise to us.

O Allah, we seek Your forgiveness and Your mercy; do not abandon us in our time of need.

O Allah, You are the Rich, and we are poor, and we have no one to turn to except You.

O Allah, we have gathered here in Your house, as Your guests, so do not turn us away without responding to our request.

O Allah, bless us with rain from the heavens.

After the duaas were made, I left the masjid and entered the courtyard, thinking that the salah was over. From the courtyard, underneath what used to be the Bayt al-Maal, I watched as the gray sky released its first drops of water. Those who did not fit inside the masjid for the salah were sitting on carpets and mats in the courtyard, and they turned their gazes heavenwards as rain drizzled down softly.

The prayer was not over as I had assumed, and a different shaykh came to the forefront and began making more duaa, and all of us in the courtyard began to pray with him. I swear, that as soon as the shaykh finished the last word of his duaa, rain began to fall from the sky. It was amazing. Raindrops cascaded down the external walls of the masjid, and pooled on the marble floor of the courtyard.

As people left the masjid, the look of wonder and awe on people’s faces was overwhelming. People stretched forth their hands, touching the rain with their fingertips, turning their faces to the sky to feel raindrops on their cheeks, as if to confirm that it was true. Children played in the courtyard, having fun sliding along it’s now slippery wet floor, and others took out umbrellas or covered their heads with scarves or shawls as they exited the masjid, or watched the rain from under the shade of the masjid’s outer vestibules.

Subhan’Allah… as I watched this beautiful scene, I was thinking: we are so much like Damascus. We are these walking deserts, so many of us with hearts that are dying of thirst, barren and dry, bereft of the sweet nourishment of being close to Allah. But how easy is it for us to ask Allah to quench this thirst of ours?

Perhaps if we just raise our hands and ask Him, His mercy will pour down on us just like it did in Damascus that day.

Published in: on December 19, 2006 at 9:20 am  Comments (4)  

the greatest gift

Shaykh Abdul Ghani an-Nabulsi was a famous scholar and ‘man of Allah’ who lived in Damascus. The masjid where he used to teach and in which he is buried (Jami’a Nabulsi) is just a few blocks from my home; his grandson, carrying on the noble family tradition from his father, from his father, is the resident scholar and imam there now.

One of my teachers mentioned this story about Sh. Abdul Ghani:

Whenever he used to feel constraint in his heart and narrowness in his chest, which happens when one’s eman needs to be renewed and increased, Sh. Abdul Ghani would go and visit the hospitals of Damascus. He would, in seeing the ill and weak, become more conscious of the blessings Allah had bestowed upon him; and he would also pray for those in need.

One day when he was about to enter a hospital specialized for those with leprosy, he saw a man being kicked out from it onto the street: he was a leper, his body broken and decaying, and about to die. The hospital attendants could do no more for him. Seeing this man in such a pitiful state moved Sh. Abdul Ghani’s heart, and he raised his hands to pray for him, when he heard him say: “Ya Abdul Ghani! Do not stand between me and my Lord.”

In astonishment, Sh. Abdul Ghani asked, “How is it that you know my name?”

The man said, “The ones who know Allah know the ones who know Allah.”

The shaykh asked, “If you are of the ones who know Allah, then why don’t you ask Him to heal you?”

He said, “I see others with perfect bodies, but with hearts that are damaged, broken, and disfigured. And yet Allah has blessed me with a sound, healthy, whole heart. So I am content with Him; and can ask for no more.”

—-

A beggar.“A penny for Allah, a penny for Allah? Doesn’t anyone have a penny they can give me for Allah’s sake?”

“May Allah bless you! May Allah grant you a long life! Give some food to those in need! Don’t you have something to give?”

“A small sadaqah is big in Allah’s sight… A small sadaqah…? Can’t you give me a small sadaqah, may Allah reward you?”

Among beggars.

“Is there anyone who can give something to this beggar? A whole heart? Is there anyone giving away a pure, whole heart?”

For a whole heart, I would give the life of this world: every moment of monotone emotion felt, every numb pleasure that kills my soul, every restless feeling that eats away inside.

For a whole heart, I would give away all my broken dreams, gathering each piece from it’s scattered place, blown in every direction by the winds of confusion and desire.

For a whole heart, I would give all of my bitter tears, shed from mistaken hurts and affected wrongs, or complexities that I myself constructed.

For a whole heart, I would give my own tongue that speaks ill instead of truth.

I would give my very eyes, that see the night sky in all it’s splendor, and that still choose slumber over vigil.

I would give my soul, troubled and heavy, always foolishly choosing darkness over Light.

But who would accept this currency or this exchange?

I’m just a poor beggar, with nothing to give. Instead, I depend on the compassion of the Owner to fulfill my needs, and be generous with me, though I have nothing to give Him in return; my worthless possessions clutched tight.

sign me,

(as br. haroon sellars used to say)

–the poor and in need of Allah.

Published in: on December 14, 2006 at 1:43 pm  Comments (7)  

another year gone by

The day I turned twenty three (just a few days ago), was hectic.  I didn’t spend too much time reflecting on how fast the days are spinning by, or how it really seems like just yesterday I was sixteen, with a million ideas for my future in mind…  and now I’m twenty-three, and still a long way from achieving the things that I’ve always wanted.  I’m just asking Allah on a daily basis for some seriousness of purpose, for focus and discipline, for an escape from cowardice and laziness and the fulfillment of all the potential I know Allah (swt) has instilled in me.  In a blink I will be thirty, forty, seventy… and wonder how so many days blur together and how it can all be done with so quickly.  This life is a dream; and the next is wakefulness. 

I constantly feel the need to do something truly meaningful for my soul… I feel like I’m on the right path here in Shaam, meeting people who are so much further along the path than I am  There’s a girl in my class from Singapore, whose Quran recitation has got to be one of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard.  When she recites, I feel like every quiet desire inside of me is awoken and my soul just sings.  

It’s scary to think that in short while, we’ll all be returning home as ‘the ones who’ve studied deen’; while so many deficiencies and inner sicknesses are not at all remedied.  I have a teacher here who says that we Westerners tend to be ‘messy’ – internally, spiritually, and I don’t want to go back until I’m all cleaned up.  How can I go back, having neither achieved anything meaningful for myself, nor with the ability to extend that benefit to others?  Invited to drink from a Blessed Pool; and neither satiating my own thirst, nor carrying anything to nourish others that are equally thirsty. 

 Wa maa astaqamtu, famaa qawliy laka “istaqim”? 

I was not steadfast; so of what value is my saying to you, ‘Be steadfast!’?  

 Pray for me and those of us here on the ‘path’, but getting lost along the way…

Published in: on December 12, 2006 at 5:05 am  Comments (5)  

Some observations about Syrian women…

Not to get all National Geographic on you, but it’s definitely interesting living in a place that has such a defined culture.  I know, I know most places in the world have distinctive cultures (duh) but living in the U.S., in a family that was not too big on being ‘Indian’ has left me relatively culture-less I think, which makes it all the more interesting to observe others…    

Anyways, here are some interesting things that I’ve noticed about women in Damascus in my time here (sorry for the generalizations, and I’m sure there are exceptions):

  — Their dress:  First of all, from what I’ve seen, generally speaking, no one in Damascus wears traditional Arab clothing (the colorful abayas and jilbabs you see in the souq).  Everyone wears Western clothing, i.e., long skirts (denim is really in), pants, jeans etc.  The trend now is towards tattered skirts (the bottom looking like it was cut in a zig-zag fashion), and towards ‘suits’, i.e. long skirts and short jackets in the same color, khaki, denim, funky orange, etc.   Most women here wear hijab, and many also wear the monteau.  Monteaus are basically chic coats, similar to the kind women wear in the U.S. over a suit or a dress, but they are ankle length, and worn over normal clothes when a woman goes outside of her home.  It’s like a jilbab, but it’s not loose or flowy, but more fitted.  The typical Syrian hijab is tucked in, tight around the face, and not flowy or big.  Women almost always wear high-heeled shoes, and a coordinating purse.  The overall effect is a look that’s “smart” in the British sense of the word: Women always look well-dressed, neat, ironed, and well-groomed, with nothing shabby or untidy.         

I was in a photo shop in our neighborhood the other day, and a woman walked in wearing a perfectly tailored charcoal gray monteau, a black hijab tucked in, and khimar the Syrian style — a second black scarf, wrapped around from the back, and appropriately pinned so that the bottom half of her face was also concealed.  She had fair skin, dark sunglasses; a chunky ring of gold on her finger and then a ring of diamonds; a black purse, and killer-high heeled shoes; the perfect example of the Syrian woman; feminine, Muslim, confident, and well put together.   

How they manage to maintain this is beyond me, who usually returns home after a walk in the souq or school with the bottom six inches of my clothes covered in dust, and my hijab needing a repinning 🙂  The high-heels also astonish me, since the roads here are not always smooth, and I’ve fallen myself more than once wearing normal flat shoes…  

The monteau is also something that takes some getting used to.  I’m not comfortable with the idea of uniformity.  My first response to it was, does hijab necessarily have to mute your personality?  But their perspective is:  The uniformity is only in the public sphere.  Why do random people on the street have the right to ‘know’ you or your personality?  That’s something you show to the people that are important in your life, not to just anybody.  (And this flows into their mannerisms in public too, read below…)  

The ‘Bedouin’ women (that come from the outskirts of the city) are very different.  The older women are usually stocky, with tanned and weathered faces, and wear velvet jilbabs or black dresses that have elastic at the waist.  They wear black hijabs, and then a colorful one tied on top bandanna style.  We often see them in our neighborhood on the weekends, because one of the local masjids provides free Quran courses for them and their children.  They tend to be loud and bold, as opposed to the more prim and sophisticated manners of the city folks 🙂   

Some women wear niqab in the way I described above, and others wear it similarly, but pin the second scarf under their nose, instead of on its bridge.  Some women, especially the older ones, wear niqab by draping a second cloth over their head, that shrouds their entire face.  I think this style is slowly fading though, because it’s not as often seen as the others. 

 — Their behavior in public:  Women are very prim and proper 🙂  Speaking and laughing loudly is considered uncultured, as well as smiling or talking to shop-keepers, drivers, etc.  Women though are very independent in Damascus; they drive, take public transportation on their own, go out to eat at restaurants, work, study, etc.  I think this is one of the reasons why many single sisters come here to study… the culture does not have a lot of restrictions on what women can and cannot do. 

— Their knowledge: There are many, many knowledgeable women in Damascus, which is an extremely refreshing thing to see.  They have really taken the forefront when it comes to Quranic studies, memorization and Tajweed; and every Shari’ah college has a parallel program for women.   This is one of the things I love about living here: meeting strong and knowledgeable Muslim women, whose philosophy is that women, though having different responsibilities from men, have their own unique and important role to play in service of this deen, and they put that into practice in their actions. It’s not just talk, and their ability to balance being a mother/wife/daughter with working effectively for Islam is something we need more of in the US, where I think we fall into extremes.      

 — Marriage: There is a really traditional understanding of marriage and a lot of focus on it, especially for the young girls.  There is a lot of emphasis in established families on preserving a girl’s reputation, by making sure she’s not going out late, hanging out with the wrong crowd, etc.  In this respect I feel that Syria is much like many other traditional Muslim cultures (Pakistan, India, etc) but not to the same extent.  It’s considered odd for a man to help out at home or in the kitchen, and the pressure for having children comes immediately after someone gets married.  I guess it balances out, because there is also a strong sense of manhood and responsibility among the Syrians; it’s shameful for a man to be unemployed or fall short in providing for his family, and out-right wrong for his wife to feel obliged to work.     In many ways women in Syria are an interesting blend of traditional and modern; much like its landscape.  Walking down the street from my apartment, you will see an eight-hundred year old masjid; and directly across from it, an internet cafe.  Or a student of knowledge, wearing traditional clothing, looking as if he stepped out of a long ago century, hop a suzuki to get to a masjid on the mountain side.  That’s just life in Shaam 🙂   walhamdulillah. 

Published in: on December 7, 2006 at 12:18 pm  Comments (45)