Monday, May 19, 2008

Blogging Break

I'll be on a blogging break until around mid-June. I won't be making any new posts nor will I be responding to any new comments or emails. Inshallah, I'll be back after that with some entertaining posts.

Stay Tuned....

Some titles planned for next month:

- Calling All White Boys to Islam...
- Trying to Pray With Kids
- A Driving Desire

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Dream I'm Searching for Jesus

About 11 years ago, I dreamt I was searching for Jesus. As a person who rarely remembers her dreams, even a few minutes after waking, the fact that every detail of this dream is seared into my memory even to this day is a testament to its impact. Muslims believe that on occasion, a person can experience a dream sent by God and surely, for me, this was one such dream.

My mission from the beginning of the dream was quite clear; I had to find Jesus. I was paired with another on my quest, a man I didn't know and have not met yet, to my knowledge.

The two of us began our quest in a very nice looking neighborhood with beautifully paved and clean, tree-lined streets during a sunny summer's day. We asked a few of the happy passers-by if they knew where Jesus could be found. Each smiling respondent enthusiastically pointed us in the direction of a large stadium in the distance.

Upon entering the packed stadium, the sound of hysterical laughter was deafening. Well-dressed men, women and children of various races filled every seat in the huge stadium and all were transfixed with laughter at the events taking place at the center of the stadium. There wasn't a person in the place whose face wasn't contorted with a jester-like quality and who were bent over in the throws of uncontrollable laughter. There was an unrealistic, almost forced quality to the laughter, as if it weren't genuinely produced from the soul. The absence of true joy was apparent in the eyes of the laughers as if their smiles had been unnaturally transposed over mourning faces.

My partner and I proceeded to try and ask several of the laughing people in the stadium if they knew where Jesus was, but it was so hard to distract them from their jocularity. In our confusion upon entering the stadium to this hilarious bedlam, we hadn't even glanced in the direction of the stage in the middle. When we looked...there was nothing there, just an empty stage with a spotlight shone upon it!

"What are you laughing at", I asked one of the people after shaking him out of his trance-like laughter long enough to look away from the empty stage and look at me. He was a middle-aged African-American man with glasses and looked to be an average middle-class family man.

He heavily lifted his arm and pointed his finger towards the empty stage while still contorted with laughter.

"But there's nothing there", I insisted while trying to keep him from slipping back into his laughing-trance.
"Don't you see it, it's right there, look", the man giggled and shifted his attention back to the stage.

"What, what's there, I don't see anything on stage...", but it was too late, he'd already been re-entranced by the empty stage.

Unable to snap any of the stadium-goers out of their insane laughter, we were forced to leave to continue our search despite having been instructed by various people outside the stadium that indeed, that's where Jesus is supposedly located. My partner and I decided to get into an awaiting taxi parked in front of the stadium and search in another neighborhood.

"Do you know where we might find Jesus", we enquired of the grungy cabbie upon getting into the older-model cab.

He nodded in the affirmative and proceeded to drive us a short distance to a dank, dirty, deserted part of town replete with tipped-over, rat-filled garbage cans and stagnant puddles of sewage overflow next to tall, dilapidated apartment buildings. The bright and cheerful sun which had shone in the nice neighborhood didn't appear through the smog and pollution casting tones of twilight across the dingy, urban scene like something out of an old gangster movie. The cabbie indicated to one of the condemned buildings, suggesting that would be where Jesus is located.

My partner and I entered the building and began knocking on apartment doors on every floor. Most were empty and the few people we did speak with, weren't helpful at anything but misdirection and contradiction until finally, there was only one apartment left unchecked. We opened the door to the sight of water filled up to just a few inches below the ceiling. There was an invisible barrier holding the water in the apartment and keeping it from flowing out of the open door. We could feel a type of pull, somehow we could sense that Jesus was in there and we had to enter through the door and into the water.

As we passed through the doorway, we were entirely immersed in water and were forced to float to the top. Our heads bumped against the ceiling next to the single light bulb which dimly illuminated the water below as we held our mouths above water and gasped for air. My partner and I took turns diving below the water and searching for Jesus in every cabinet and closet. We would rise to inform the other of where we'd already searched in the murky, greenish colored water and breathe while the other would dive below to continue our search, which now seemed more like a rescue mission. We treaded water for what seemed to be forever and we became exhausted.

Then finally after dozens of dives, we found him.

On my last dive into the kitchen, I'd found Jesus, weak and powerless to release himself, curled up in one of the lower cabinets in a fetal position. He wasn't dead, but practically unconscious. Upon opening the cabinet door and discovering him, the water gushed out of the apartment leaving us to carry a wet and tired Jesus out of the condemned building into the street. We rushed as fast as we could to try and find help for him and saw that the taxi which had brought us to this seedy neighborhood was still idling outside, ready to take us to the hospital. My partner and I held Jesus in the backseat of the taxi, trying to revive him. As he opened his eyes, he passed us a key that had been clenched in his hand all that time.

And I woke up.

The Meaning

There are people who are gifted with dream interpretation. A few years after having this dream, my husband contacted a sheikh who was renowned for accurately interpreting dreams. I already had an idea of what the dream meant but I wanted to have my ideas confirmed. I told him the details of my dream and he gave me the following keys:

Jesus= the true message of God. For Muslims, Jesus (PBUH) was an important Prophet and he carried with him the same message that all of God's prophets did, from Adam to Noah to Moses and beyond. Upon reading the Bible, I can spot where the original message was and where it had become changed and distorted from its original meaning. For me, Islam isn't a different religion from Christianity, hence the use of Jesus and not Mohammed (PBUH) as symbol for Islam in my dream; it's a continuation and a correction of what had come previous but had been manipulated by the hands of man.

The nice neighborhood at the beginning = the christian world

The laughing stadium goers = Christians who unbeknownst to themselves, were deluded into happiness by unsubstantial joys of this world. In error, everyone thought Jesus was there in the stadium with them but in fact, there was nothing. The forced quality of their laughter and the contradiction of their sad eyes to the apparent hilarity alluded to the fact that they suspected or knew the fallacy of the situation, but didn't want to admit it or question it.

My partner= we're not exactly sure who he is but the sheikh thought he is a person who was also going through a similar search for true Islam. I did not feel any romantic attachment to him nor do I recall any particular fondness for him... but I do know he is western-oriented like me although the details of his appearance have been obscured from my memory. All I felt is that we were linked in our search. One of my friends suggested he may be my then unborn son, who may join me on future religious projects, Allahu-aalam. A part of me feels he may be another Muslim who also had the same dream as I and may work with me in real life one day on an important Islamic project; this thought has compelled me to keep certain details of my dream out of this post in case I were to ever meet the brother, I could confirm his authenticity (far-fetched, I know).

The taxi = dawah, propagation of Islam. It's older state is a testament to outmoded methods used to promote the religion as well as its "foreignness". The grungy state of the driver, and the fact that many taxi drivers in metropolitan areas are of Muslim extraction may be of significance.

The bad neighborhood = the Muslim world today. The lack of light is how we lack enlightenment and are in a type of "dark ages". It also shows what a miserable state most Muslim countries are in.

The apartment dwellers- cultural Muslims, or Muslims-by-name-only who don't really practice the religion nor do they know much about it.

The water = fitna. This was one of the strongest symbols in my dream and the one I faced the most difficulty with. Diving down through all the fitna in the Muslim world in order to find the true message of Jesus (PBUH), which is the same as our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), proved to be an exhausting ordeal.

The key= perhaps to the gates of heaven for finding the true message of God through all of the fitna, after having left my nice neighborhood to search for it in the foreboding Muslim world.


Upon having this dream, two years or so after I really started practicing Islam and before my husband and I had left America for Saudia, I was instantly comforted that I was on the right path. I'd been given confirmation by God that my struggles were not in vain and that my destiny was to go to the Muslim world to dive and search through the fitna to find the true message of God. It also meant that there were others like me and I was never alone in my search and they would also help me bring the true religion of God out of the Muslim world where it had formerly been held, neglected and bogged down by fitna.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chinese Eyes

Random Filipina nurse: (to me) "Are you Chinese?"

Daisy: *?!?*

Random Filipina nurse: *earnestly awaiting answer*

Daisy: "Uh... no. But strangely enough, that's not the first time I've been asked that".

(people who know me...seriously, I've been asked this several times)

You never know when a recessive trait is going to strike. In my case, it's my "Chinese eyes".

Before we all had kids, there were only two people in my family with "Chinese eyes", me and my gorgeous Cousin Suzy. As a kid, I watched men fall all over themselves as my exotic looking cousin, then in her early 20's, passed by with her dark hair, classy style and her captivating eyes. I recall riding on rides for free when Suzy took me to the carnival. In a family whose looks exemplify "the girl next door", Suzy's features were unique.

"Are you sure you guys didn't have a Chinese milkman", DD jokes with me.

2 out of my 3 kids have inherited my "Chinese eyes", what had been a recessive trait. I hadn't thought much beyond my "Chinese eyes" when thinking of recessive traits. My DNA, when combined with DD's, is varied enough that I don't need to worry about passing things on like Sickle-Cell, cystic fibrosis or Huntington's onto my kids. Or so I thought...

"What the hell is going on, how the hell did we end up with two kids with epilepsy?"

After Buddy had his 3rd seizure in 4 days, I was asking a lot of questions. We weren't terribly surprised when EttaMae was struck with seizures last year; the poor kid really got a bad shuffle of the DNA deck. Not only did she get bad hair, bad teeth, bad eyesight amongst other things but, she'll catch every virus and bacteria in the general vicinity and is constantly sick. But now, Buddy too!

"Is there anyone else in your families that has convulsions", the neurologist asked DD and I while we were at the same hospital as that random Filipina nurse.

"No", DD answers quickly. Although the same thing can't be said with diabetes, sickle-cell and one in his family has epileptic seizures.

"I do have a cousin, a second cousin actually. She had a seizure once in her 20's but to my knowledge, she never had one again. And she was told it was probably from an old head injury, something about an old bruise on her brain, maybe from a childhood fall."

I recalled the details of Suzy's seizure to doctor as best as I could remember of the second-hand story.

"Maybe this is evidence of a recessive trait in your family" the neurologist said.

Although I'd like to deny any culpability, perhaps I've passed on more than just my Chinese eyes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tussle My Hair

Silky-soft brown swirls and whirls,
flippy-floppy cowlicks and gentle waves,
there's something about Buddy's hair that says, "Please, tussle me".

There hasn't been an outing amongst people yet in which at least one person, a complete stranger, does not pass by smiling and give his hair a little tussle. On many shopping trips, up to four people of all different walks of life, have felt compelled to playfully rifle their fingers through his hair; little girls, Asian laborers, old ladies and cashiers all are drawn to my boy's head. Sometimes, the hair-tussle is accompanied by a piece of candy or a bag of chips, to Buddy's delight.

I understand the magnetic pull of Buddy's hair, I must tussle his hair several times a day myself.