Wonderful people who make this blog worth updating

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Forced Vaccinations and Quarantine In Massachusetts?

Check out what is happening right here in the United States.

Massachusetts is trying to pass a bill that would force people to be vaccinated, quarantined, or "decontaminated" if suspected of harboring a dangerous infection.

Link on Natural Health News

This means that government health workers would be able to have the right of search and seizure within private homes, and that citizens could be fined and jailed for not following the demands of the government.

Wake up people! The government doesn't know what is best for our health and shouldn't be able to force medical fascism on us and our children.

This excerpt from the article basically outlines what I feel about this:

"Some might argue these are necessary actions to save a nation from a deadly pandemic. And yet they forget that the pandemic has been intentionally allowed to worsen by censoring information about vitamin D and natural remedies that could stop it. Somebody at the top, in other words, wants this pandemic to get really bad, perhaps because it allows them to invoke precisely the draconian response I've outlined in this article. Seizing power in a Democracy cannot be accomplished by simply declaring war on the rights of the People. Rather, a situation must be engineered where the People are so desperate that they beg to be controlled. Releasing a pandemic into the wild is the perfect way to accomplish precisely that."

This just sickens and scares me. We need to make sure that this doesn't stand in MA and that other states and countries don't follow suit.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More Books!

We went to the Portland Central Library downtown today. Its a nice library in a really cool old building. Layla and I had fun browsing around as she knocked books off the shelves.
I let her play in the kids books for awhile and do a puzzle, then we went to mommy's favorite sections, Languages and religion.
They didn't have a lot of Somali books at the downtown branch, but I guess there are more at some of the other neighborhood libraries. They have an awesome religion section though. That is, they actually have scholarly books about Islam and Biblical studies and not just negative propaganda type books. The Islam section was pretty heavy on Sufism books. Makes sense for Portland though. There is a big Sufi organization here, and Buddhism is also pretty big in the area.

Here's what we got:

The book about Ramadan fasting looks really good. It is more scholarly that a lot of the Islamic books I've seen. It has information on the history of fasting, fasts in Christianity, Judaism, and other religions. Effects of fasting on health and its benefits, as well as a lot of information on what things are considered to invalidate one's fast.
I plan on starting it right away even though I still have a lot of reading to keep up on. I'm actually still ahead on the Bible reading, and have already finished my Juz of the Quran for today. I'll probably be making another post tonight on one of the ayat that really stuck out to me.

The other book, "The God of Old," focuses on the narrative accounts in the Bible where people had encounters with God. From what I can tell, he focuses on studying how the ancient Israelites perceived God as we can best discern from the texts and archaeology. The author, James Kugel, has another book called "How to Read The Bible, A Guide to Scripture Then and Now" that I also highly recommend. All of his books focus more upon the ancient period of Biblical history that we know the least about from the texts. This time period extends roughly from the Patriarchs to the time of Solomon.

This is the kind of stuff I do for fun :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Layla's Best Friend

We came into the room last night to this cute sight. Layla cuddling her doll the same way I used to sleep with her when she was tiny. She's starting to want to take her places when we leave too.

They're so cute when they're sleeping :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who ate all the Sambusa?

Layla ate all the sambusa!
Well, I guess that's not completely true. Layla, Dave and I ate all the sambusa, and wow they were really good. Probably shouldn't be looking at this if you're fasting and faint of heart. I
If you're looking for something fun to make for iftar, sambusa are the best.
Check out Tammy's Somali Home on my side bar for sambusa recipes because I didn't really use one.
Basically, I wrapped them in egg roll wrappers that I had cut diagonally, they are filled with ground beef, garlic, lots of onion, Anaheim peppers, cumin, curry powder, chili powder, salt, and ancho chile powder.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Teachings about Marriage in An-Nisa

As you may know, I have started reading through a Juz of the Quran each day of Ramadan. I've been reading through An-Nisa, and have come across a few things that I don't quite understand.
Here are some of the problematic passages:

1. If any of your women is guilty of unnatural offense, bring four of your witnesses to give evidence; if they testify against them, regain them in the houses until death, or until God provide some other way for them. (An-Nisa 15)

a.) What is the unnatural offense? It seems to suggest homosexual behavior in the context of the next verses.
b.) What would the witnesses have to say that they had witnessed for this to be prosecuted?
c.) What is meant by until God provide some other way for them?

The passage continues:
But if two men among you are guilty of such acts then punish both of them. But if they repent and reform, let them be, for God accepts such repentance and is merciful. (An-Nisa 16)

b.) What is the required amount of witnesses for the men? The text doesn't say, and what is the punishment for them?
c.) Let them be?! So men don't have ANY punishment if they just promise to never do it again?
It just isn't setting well with me at this point.

2. Unlawful to you are your mothers and daughters...(other list of women prohibited for marriage) and the daughters of the wives you have slept with who are under your charge; but in case you have not slept with them there is no offense (if you marry their daughters);
(An-Nisa 23)

a.) So the text seems to be saying that you can marry the daughter of your wife (who is not presumably your own daughter), but only if you hadn't slept with that particular wife yet. Why would one have a wife with whom he hadn't yet consummated the marriage yet?

While we're on this topic let's head back to Surah al Baqarah's teaching on divorce in v. 230:

If a man divorces her again ( a third time), she becomes unlawful for him (and he cannot remarry her) until she has married another man.
Then if he divorces her there is no harm if hte two unite again if they think they will keep within the bounds set by God and made clear for those who understand.

a.) So a man is allowed to fully divorce his wife 3 times and yet take her back to him as a wife. However if he has divorced her a third time, she has to marry and divorce another man in order for them to re-unite again!

This one is problematic to me for 2 reasons. First, it seems to condone easy divorces, which are not socially positive in any culture. The woman might already know that she wants her husband back, but she has to find another man, marry him, have sex with him, and they have to be divorced in order to get her husband back. She would have to wait the obligatory 4 mos, and then she could marry her original husband. What if the husband wanted her back and they arranged the marriage to the other man basically as a sham so they could marry again. Is that not immoral?

The second reason it bothers me is that it directly contradicts this teaching about divorce from the Torah:

When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hands and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her and and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, for she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD, you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. (Deut 24:1-4)

You see, even if the 2nd husband died of natural causes, she could never marry the first man again.

Jesus set a higher standard for divorce in the Gospels:

It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality , makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matt. 5: 31-32)

What do you guys think about divorce in general? I think that it can be necessary, even in cases where one party is not necessarily unfaithful. What if the husband is abusive or prone to anger? What if he is lazy and refuses to provide for the family? What if the woman is abusive to her children or endangers them? I think those types of cases are definitely enough reason to divorce. People can change, but the sad truth is that sometimes they don't.

Is Jesus teaching on divorce too strict? I don't think that he's saying that there is never a case where remarriage can happen (although some churches do teach this). I think that he was using harsh language because divorce was too common and easy in the Judean culture of the 1st Century A.D. We're leaning back that direction again. My parents are one of the few their age I know who are still married. I don't think that marriages should be rushed into or out of unless there is a reason of someone's safety or sanity.

I will add to this if I come across anything else confusing in my reading.

And please, I welcome comments of all kinds as well as links to good sources of commentary.

May God be with all of you each and every hour!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breaking the potty training code

Layla and her Grandma (my mom)

I think we may have figured something out to motivate Layla for potty training!
Lately she had been hardly ever going in the potty. I would put her on and the she would go in the diaper less than 10 minutes later. Frustrating.

Yesterday I was feeling the Ramadan spirit and went out and bought some nice dates. I let Layla have one and she got really excited about it. She kept asking for more...

Then my husband got a good idea. We didn't want to give her candy or junk food as a reward for using the potty because it could add up to a lot of junk over the course of a day. He thought maybe we could give her a date every time she went.

It works! So far she has gone 2x today and 1 last night. :)
Who knows maybe this might work for some other little ones.
That is, if they like dates!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Duas for Ramadan

What better time is there than Ramadan to make duas? Here are global concerns I will be concentrating during this month:


The song is titled Hevinu Shalom 3Aleinu, Ma3na Ajmal Min Salaam
Let there be peace among us, With us is nothing more beautiful than peace.

The next song is for my dear beloved Somalia, how I would love to visit you someday.
Also dedicated to Omar who is like a brother to me and is living back in Hargeisa.
Aniga iyo Da'uud waanu ku jecelynahay walaal. Waana ku xiisey.

The song is called Baaqii Nabadda-Proclaim Peace

Doonayaayo doonayaayo doonaya nabad nabad nabadda doonaya
O' We want, o' we want, we want peace, peace, peace is what we want

Da'iimow Allahayow,noo daryeelo, dalkeenu, dadkeenu, nabadda
O' Eternal one, O' Allah, take care of us, our country, our people, peace

Dadow, dadow, dhul Allahayow soo duceeya, Aamiin, aamiin
O' People, 'o people, Pray to Allah for your land, amin, amin

Nalada cadeeddo lagu wada dega baan
By the lights of the sun let us reside together

dadow dadow dhul adoo soo duceeya aamiin aamiin
O' people, o' people pray for your land, amin, amin

Qabiilka dhabar go'ynoo dankugu lagu dadaal
Cut off tribalism from our backs, let our effort be united

dadow, dadow, dhul dalool soo duceeya
'o people, o' people, pray for a broken land (lit. with holes)

Please, any Somali sisters who know better than I do, let me know any words I missed or problems with the translation. This song was a lot easier than most Somali songs, but I still had a little trouble getting all the words.

Ramadan Kariim everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What? Another Award?!

Wow, so I am feeling surprised and blessed. These awards are circulating like crazy on. It still surprises me that my blog has been awarded for anything other than Layla's cuteness.

I got the Freakin Fabulous Award from 3 Ladies who are all fabulous themselves:
Skye, Nazia, and Tiffany Nicole :)

Here are the rules:
The rules of this award are:
•List five current obsessions.
•Pass the award on to five more fabulous blogs.
•On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.
•When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well.
Don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by leaving a comment on their blog.

I know I was awarded thrice, but I am still only listing 5 obsessions because Layla is attention-starved and I'm lazy :)

1. Coldstone Creamery
This one is not a good obsession for the long term. Hubby and I have been going here at least once a week lately. It is expensive and filled with empty calories, but it tastes so good! The second part of my obsession here is that I always have to get cookie dough in my ice cream. Yesterday Layla and I shared mint with cookie dough.

2. Books
I have way too many books already, but who doesn't like more. We are always looking for used bookstores, regular bookstores, and buying books online. My favorite genres are religion, history, cultural studies, and languages.

3. Thai Food
I've been making Pad Thai or Thai red curry at least once a week for awhile now. Its spicy, tasty, and easy to make. There are a lot of asian groceries close to us, so I can get the curry paste really cheap. Layla already eats spicier than most American adults.

4. Somali
This is an ongoing obsession for sure. Oh Somali, why do I love thee so much? I seriously think Somali is the most beautiful language in the world. To me it's even more beautiful than Arabic and Hebrew combined. My husband just thinks I'm weird. This means I read Somali kids books, do crossword puzzles in Somali, and speak Somali on the phone. I just need to get back to updating my Somali blog and all will be good.

5. Everyday Deals
So there is this weird store just down the road from my house, I've written about it before. They sell damaged, almost expired, and discontinued or overstock merchandise. Now I go there almost every day. Last week they had cantaloupes 2/1.00 and both the ones I picked were perfectly good. I also have like 10 boxes of cereal in the pantry now. I just can't resist the urge to go in there and see what new things they have each day.

So yes, I'm weird just like the rest of you :) Let's enjoy our differences and weird obsessions.

In turn I am awarding:
1.Tuttie at Trying to Take Over The World
2. Maryanne at Cairo/Giza Daily Photo
3. Aalia at Chasing Jannah
4. Never Ever at Finding Guidance
5. Cairo, Lusaka, Amsterdam

Monday, August 17, 2009


My husband and I always joked that we would dress our kids in Togas for the first few years of their life to save money. It turns out that a toga can be pretty cute.
This is just actually a towel that I wrapped around Layla, then tied at the shoulder. I think its pretty cute! It gets a little cold in Portland for year-round togas though.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tzniut - Jewish Modesty: then and now, A video

I found this to be really insightful. It shows how the concept of modesty as it was kept in Judaism was very similar to what we see preserved in Islam. It was only in the last century that the Jews' traditional dress was changed to more closely resemble that of the Europeans. The author of the material also discusses some of the reasons for modesty and the true meaning of the Hebrew word Tzniut. It translated more accurately as subduedness, which is why modesty should be part of our submission to our creator.


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Thanks to NeverEver, I now have a 3rd blogging award. Thanks!! I never knew if anyone would read my blog when I first started it. Now, 1 year later I have plenty of followers that motivate me to update more often. The blog doesn't really have a singular theme of Layla anymore, but I can share more about what I am doing, thinking and reading about.

So with that thought I will pass on this award a couple other bloggers who balance a lot of topics on their blogs with ease:

Umm Omar at Just Another Day


Organica at Organic Muslimah

Until later everyone!


So I was tagged by Skye at Muslimah-in-Aus to tell you guys 5 things about myself.

So without further introduction:

1. I don't have a TV. We have 3 working laptops now though so we're not really isolated.

2. When I was 18 I got a tattoo that says body, soul, and spirit in Hebrew. I wouldn't mind having it removed now, but its not really worth the cost. I kept it covered when I went to Dubai and Egypt because I didn't want people to think I was Israeli.

3. I am obsessed with camels. I just think that they are the coolest animal ever.

4. I was vegan for a year or so when I was 16-17. I love meat, so I'm not sure how I even did it now.

5. I love being outside. I could just sit outside or wander around outside for days. My husband is the total opposite. .He likes being inside unless he has something specific to do and the weather is perfect.

In return I tag Yasemin, Asmaa, NeverEver, Heather, andTiffany Nicole.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just One More Day...

My mom and brother are leaving Thursday morning. :(
My mom and I at the OR trail interpretive center

This week has been fun, but kind of sad too. Since I've had my brother and mom here for the past week, I kind of forgot that they don't actually live here.

We've had lots of fun and gone a lot of places, so hopefully I've done my part of convincing them to move here eventually. We have to wait for my dad to retire though.

Today we visited 2 museums, and had lunch at Red Robin. Layla loved dipping her fries in the sauces.

Layla and her sauces

Grandma and sleepy Layla

Yesterday we visited Mt. St. Helens. It was a little cloudy though, so we didn't bother driving the additional 30 miles to the closest viewpoint. It would have cost quite a bit to get in, so we just took pictures from the Forest Learning Center.

Tomorrow we are planning to take it pretty easy, but if its sunny we will go back up on Powell Butte to take pictures and maybe drive out closer to Mt. Hood.

Just like me at first, they can't get over the fact that there are real mountains here!

In other news, Blogger has somehow deleted all the blogs I watch from my dashboard. It did this once before, and they came back after I had re-added half of them. I think I'm just going to give it a day or so.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yesterday's Finds!

As you may know, my mom and brother are in town. We have been busy all around the city, checking out shops, taking walks, and just generally enjoying ourselves. The weather got a really nice too. Its much cooler and overcast, so we won't get overheated while walking.

Yesterday we went to Powell's books, checked out downtown for a bit, then went over to the Hawthorne Dist. I picked up these things:

The Quran translation is Al Quran, A Contemporary Translation by Ahmed Ali.

I looked at it in the store and was pretty impressed. It includes the Arabic text (in very small print), has useful footnotes, and seems to be contemporary without going against traditional interpretation. I was actually looking for the Asad translation, but maybe this was meant to be.
The English is very readable, but seems to be truer to the original.

I picked up the scarf at a place that sold clothes from Tibet and nepal. It is a rougher cotton that seems to stay put and also breathes well.

Just look at how cute Layla is wearing it:

The other book is a children's story in English and Somali. I probably bought it more for myself than for Layla. She seems to get annoyed when I read it to her in Somali.

My mom and brother both really like it here. Now I just need to convince them to move when my dad retires.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Readings and Ramblings

Salaam, Nabad, Shalom, and Peace all,

Update: As of Aug 16 I am almost done with the Torah (Genesis-Deut) and have read 35 of the Psalms as well. I'm waiting to start the Quran until Ramadan.

Our little family was productive today. The hubby and myself are now licensed Oregon drivers with Oregon license plates. It wasn't actually all that bad. We did forget one paper at home to prove our address, so Dave had to drive back while I stayed at the counter with Layla. She was really good, but I didn't bring the camera. So it's out with the old, Minnesota, and in with the new, Oregon. Our tabs had expired in July, so we figured to just get it all done in one shot.

My mom and brother are coming tomorrow! I'm so excited. My mom just saw Layla right before we moved, but after seeing her every day for a year she's going through withdrawls. I don't blame her though. I can't wait to show them around the city. We are also planning to go to Mt. St. Helens during the week. I want them to fall in love with it so they move here when my dad retires.

I have gotten a jump start on the Bible reading part of my Ramadan Challenge. I'm already to Exodus 22. I have some comments and insights from my readings in Genesis, but I may just write a few notes and post them later. As far as the Bible is concerned, the most ancient period of Israelite history excites me the most. Unfortunately, the texts themselves were written long after the events they are purported to describe. I do believe that oral transmission of stories was pretty reliable during that time, but the details are still sketchy. I always find that part of the Bible drawing me in. I'm not so into theology. I like the human interest stories in Genesis, Joshua, Judges, I and II Samuel and I and II Kings the best. No matter how you look at the inspiration issue, I think that most of the Old Testament's authors were great storytellers and writers.

Do any of you Muslimas who were People of the Book previously miss reading the Bible, or do you still read it sometimes?

Another Swine Flu Post

The vaccination being created for H1N1 will most likely include an adjuvant called squalene. It is used to increase the immune response from a vaccine, so that a smaller dosage can be used. The problem? This adjuvant has never been approved for use in any vaccine in the U.S. and has only been used in 3 vaccines ever approved for use worldwide!
It was contained in experimental Anthrax vaccines that have been strongly linked to Gulf War Syndrome. Please don't get these vaccines for your children! They greatly increase the risk of developing auto-immune disorders over time.

Please read the whole article here:
Squalene: The Swine Flu Vaccine's Deadly Little Secret Exposed.

Personally, I would refuse this vaccine even if threatened at gunpoint.
Don't give into the fear-mongering. The vaccine itself poses a much greater risk to your health than the virus itself does.

There is also an online petition you can sign to show that you are against any mandatory vaccination attempts.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Ramadan Challenge

Muslims all over the world will be celebrating the giving of the Quran as well of the unity of the Ummah in just a few weeks. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from food and water during daylight hours. While fasting a person experiences physical deprivation, but can also use this to draw closer to God. I came up with my own challenge for this year's Ramadan.

I will be reading the entire Old Testament (Torah, Prophets, and Writings):

Isaiah from the Dead Sea Sea Scrolls 57:17-59:9, 1Cent BCE

The entire New Testament:

Opening of the Gospel of John, P66, late 1st Cent C.E.

and the entire Quran:

Tashkent Quran, 8th Cent CE (oldest extant copy)

I would love to read them each in their original languages, but for time's and sanity's sake I will be reading them all in English. I have chosen to read the ESV for the Bible, clearing it up with the Hebrew or Greek whenever I have a question. I feel like reading the Bible and the Quran together could confuse me, but might also help me gain insights into the Quran and Bible that I haven't seen before.

I might need some help in choosing a Quran translation though. I have Yusuf Ali's translation, but it is awkward to read. I have never actually finished reading the entire Quran mostly because of that. I have heard that Muhammad Asad's translation is good. Any thoughts?

It is a lot of reading, I'll admit, but I know I can do it. I just need to ignore the other books on my shelves and spend less time online. Is anyone else doing a special challenge for Ramadan?