7:04 AM

Condolences for Uncle John

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

My Uncle who was terminally Ill has passed away December 23rd, 2008 at 2:45pm. He was 78 years old. He is survived by his widow Marie.

My mother had this to say about his last few days alive:
"Friday afternoon, and all day Saturday John seemed to be doing just fine. I brought the note you (Brandy) wrote to him and Marie Sunday morning. Marie was going to read it to John but John grabbed it from Marie's hand and read it himself, with a BIG smile on his face. After reading it he whispered," That was a nice note."
But then yesterday [Tuesday 22nd] we all went to see him and Marie, at the Hospice near their house, and he seemed to be a little more tired but he was still cracking jokes and talking a bit. This morning [Wednesday 23rd] about 6:45 am John took a turn for the worst. His breathing wasn't as deep as it had been. I got to the Hospice at 8:30 this morning, right after Marie. John knew that Marie was there with him this morning, even though, he never opened his eyes. Marie was holding his hand and John would gently squeeze it in answer to --"John I am here, squeeze my hand if you hear me. Periodically Marie would stroke his forehead to give him comfort. She did it about 2:35 and he felt cold, or clammy. She called the nurse in to check. The nurse said that she did not hear his heart. That nurse went to get another nurse for verification of John's dieing. The 2nd one confirmed the first nurse's findings and they pronounced John's death at 2:45 pm."

So alhamdulillah he went pretty peacefully. Again if people would like to express condolences to my Aunt and family I will gather and e-mail them to her. Thank you for those who gave kind words for my Uncle before he died. Please put where you are located at. And if it is possible can they please be entirely in English or if there is arabic have translation (like Allah=God, alhamdulillah = Praise be to God etc...) because my Aunt doesn't understand it. I appreciate your thinking of my family in their time of need. May Allah bless your families as well in their time of need.
"To God we belong and to Him is our return"

8:43 AM

Un-Deck the Halls

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Today is the 24th of December. Here in Al-Ain it's just another day but I know back home and across the world today is a pretty big day for some. Christmas Eve.
Frantically getting those last minute gifts for loved ones at the store, cramming through traffic to rush home to wrap them. Sneaking them carefully under that glimmering Christmas tree so it doesn't appear they are "last minute" gifts. Having a mental countdown to the end of the day to start the festivities. Breaking out the tasty eggnog and pies.

I fully know well the "Christmas Spirit". It's catchy. What with all the beautiful decorations on trees and houses. I was the decorator for my family. No one had ever decorated like me. My Grandpa has pipe organ in the living room and I used to put ball ornaments on the tops of them and it was beautiful. The tree was "just so!". And the Carols, AH! the Carols. 24/7 they were bursting from my heart. Sure it helped they were on every radio channel. But I had tons of CDs of special Carols like Renaissance style. "Deck the Halls with boughs of Holly, Fa lala la la..."

But once you're Muslim... " la la ---eeerrrrrrrr!" *record screeches off*
Silence the carols.
No decorations.
No presents.
No trees.

It was hard. I mean really hard for me to stop celebrating what was once a favorite holiday. The first year I had no idea it wasn't allowed really so I did my usual. The second year when I lived further away I visited my family but I didn't want to participate. I sat there watching them and some got me presents so I opened them. I had a big lump in my throat that day though being torn both directions. The third Christmas I was in Lebanon and the day came and I got dressed up nicely and since things close for the Christian Minority I took my sister-in-law and the Christian Maid down the street to look at shops. While the Maid called her family I picked up a few small presents for myself. I hummed happily the Carols with no obvious words about Christ or Christmas. Like Jingle Bells. I still say it's a winter song not religious. But by the next year it was gone. Fourths the charm lol. The day came I wasn't sad. I wasn't anxious. I was relieved and happy. It IS just another day like any other. I had more stronger lessons and they had explained to me clearly why we don't celebrate and why the Christians shouldn't even be celebrating it the way they do. Living Life and Loving It, Has an excellent post "What would Jesus Do" on this topic though I wish she's provide more actual evidences like from Bible and such. Had someone taught me all this from the beginning things would have been easier, much easier.

I see from the poll above many of you are also not celebrating and I'm cheering you. For those that answered you are celebrating I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and hope they are only doing it because either they don't know any better, are practically forced to by their Christian families, or haven't shaken off the Christmas Spirit. These following reminders are for you.
Christmas is to celebrate "the birth of Prophet Jesus. Their coming Prophet. And for some the birth of their Lord/God. (?!)" As we believe in not celebrating Birthdays we shouldn't do this. Plus there is no evidence that he was actually born on the 25th. There are some sects who celebrate Christmas in January. Prophet Jesus isn't OUR Prophet though we respect him enormously. And for sure we don't believe he was a God in any form or way.
Then comes the "you have to be good this month and give to the needy and help people and be good Christians." Yet Christianity and Islam both teach that you should be good all year and strive to keep goodness in your heart. We have Ramadan which for some feels like Christmas because everyone is super good and super generous. But we don't need a calendar to tell us when to be good. It's expected.
Also family get togethers. Normally friends throw parties, families arrange to fly in. The masses converge. This is why Muslims are encouraged to get together often so people don't feel isolated and lonely and depressed. We have our Friday to converge at the masjid and then that day or evening for doing special family and neighborly things. Usually there is something special monthly to get together with people too. So we shouldn't feel that there is only one day a year that we can be jolly and happy.
Do I even need to go into the long term effects of teaching people to believe in a mythological character. Lying to your children and having them going through the trauma of finding out the hard way. Plus Lying even small white lies are Haram.
But of course the most important reason to cut out Christmas from our celebrations is that we are told by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that we cannot celebrate other religions holidays and ways. By saying Shahada we agree to follow the Prophet Muhammad and HIS ways so by going against the Prophet we are sinning to God and ourselves. Some even go as far to say that celebrating other religious holidays takes you outsides the bounds of Islam. Makes you a Non-Muslim and you have to re-say Shahada to become a Muslim again. No matter which scholar you ask I don't believe there is even one that says it is ok.
We must make great efforts especially with small children and converts to use Ramadan and E'id to feel festive. We can decorate our houses and sing Islamic songs and follow the rituals of Islam during these holidays and this will give us a great feel for releasing our joy. Always invite your convert brother and sisters to join your family if they have no one. I can't tell you how sad my first Ramadans and E'ids were all by myself. Everyone dressed up talking about plans and I had to go home alone to my empty house... so Please encourage others to join you even if they are strangers. Let them feel the real "Spirit of Generosity". Al-Islam.

12:46 PM


Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Red is my favorite color!
Double click pic to see beautiful details!

What's yours?

10:01 AM

Uncle John

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Some difficult news: My mother's sister's husband John is in Hospice (terminally ill patients) Program now with:
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. "Progressive" means the disease gets worse over time.
COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. Also he has spinal problems which are crushing on his lungs making it harder to breathe.
My Aunt is staying by his side and trying her best to keep up his spirits but he needs large amounts of morphine to combat the pain.
Please keep these good people in your prayers and make du'a that God eases his pain.
John is a quiet man who loves crosswords and fill-in puzzles and enjoys his simple pleasures in life like a good book or magazine. He is sweet and plain spoken and it was nice to have him at family gatherings.
I will e-mail my family all your replies so even if you don't normally reply please take the time to do so. I'm sure it would cheer him up to know people around the world are thinking of him. If you can put in your reply where you are writing from I'm sure he'd love that.
May God make it easy for all of us Amin.

6:22 PM

NO Honking!

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

There I was minding my own business leaving the ATM and about to make the perilous journey across the crosswalk in downtown Al-Ain on Saturady night. OK, remember to push the button to make the cars stop 'cause otherwise you'll get flatened.... remember to hide your money and credit card up your sleeve since you forgot your wallet in the car and -

BEEEEEEPPP!!!!! BEEP BE-BEEP BE-BEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!! HONK! BEEP!! HONK!!!! Went an idiot next to where I was standing. He stared furiously through his front window at a store. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! He announced rudely again really laying his weight into that horn. "Why isn't that low bred moron coming to serve me in my car because I'm far too lazy and well-bred to get my butt out of my car and go into a shop for service." He was thinking. It was written all over his face. HONK!!!! He goes again. By that time I had walked directly into his line of sight and I purposly dropped my jaw a bit and let my eyeborws rise to the top of my hijab in absolute amazement that someone could be so incredibly rude. I purposly stared him down showing my incredulousness that he was doing that. He was pratically standing over his horn and at my look he slowly sat down in his seat looking kinda sheepish. His eyes shifted side to side to the other dozens of cars parked along the street facing the shops, then he looked down until I finished passing. I didn't hear him honk again as I walked away. Then as I continued my brisk pace to get to the cross walk I noticed every other car held an Emiratian. Let me clarify that statement. Every other car, there was an Emeratian sitting in the driver seat waiting for his service to be brought to him because he couldn't see fit to physically get out of his beloved car and go into a shop and ask for what he needed. As I cut through these cars and waited as a long line of cars were pulling through the tiny parking lot. One stopped almost right in front of me and the female Emiratian driver began honking furiously and the female Emiratian passenger gestured out her window at the eatery shop. She sat right there in the driving lane of the parking holding up a long line of cars wanting to get in and cars were backing up all the way down Khalifa Street as far as I could see honking furiously because of her. I sighed and walked behind her car and all of a sudden she roared off since the service had not promptly answered her Beeping. The other cars behind her filed through the parking to where ever they wanted to go as I reached the crosswalk. I walked across the street to where my family was waiting for me to return from my bank run and got back into the car shaking my head.

Images of 50's drive ins filled my mind with chicks on rollerskates bringing service to cars. But there are a few big flaws to this image and the reality of what I experienced.

1. This was not a drive-in with special places to park and eat. This is a regular parking lot. These businesses all have indoor eating. You know Tables! Chairs! Menus!

2. These were not chicks with rollerblades taking orders, they were "low-bred"(in the eyes of some) workers forced to ignore their indoor customers and fly car to car changing orders here and there on the whim of a HONK!
3. Drive ins where I come from are there for people to enjoy sitting and eating in the privacy of their cars and it's fun. Here they are using this method more like a drive-thru with no thru, just drive up honk loudly, wave, order, sit there furious as it's being prepared honking every few minutes to be sure they remember you are sitting there waisting fuel.
I find this kind of mentality really disturbing. I really feel if they want food 'to go' so badly they can just call ahead or at least have the dignaty to leave their car and go to the store and order it inside and if they must wait in their car until it is finished then go get it.

My Uncle in Law who had a restraunt here said to me that if you don't rush out right away and take their arrogent orders they will drive off in a huff and then bad-mouth you to their families and friends so you don't get good business. If you rush right away and probably grovel enough they will come back again and again.
As my family reached McDonalds on Khalifa Street we got out of our cars (amazing huh?!) and walked into the restraunt (imagine that!?!) and stood in line with all the other Emiratians, Arabs, Indians (can you just believe it!?!?!) and waited for our turn to order our food. Ta-Daaa! Voila! It is THAT easy people!

12:48 PM

Tagged: 5 Things...

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

5 Things!

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago

  • I was 14 and in 9th grade of High School.
  • Wearing Black lipstick and short spikey hair and being goth/punk/rebel. This one girl called me a dyke (masculine lesbian) and I rethought my style after that. though later she appologised saying she was on acid when she said it.
  • I was Atheist and would proudly debate with anyone "religious" how there "was No God"
  • Started writing novels more often using most of my time to write now.
  • I hit the big 200lbs that year and couldn't get it lower than 200 for a few years after that. Then after getting it off 200 in 11th grade I gained it after I got married from stress/depression (not related to my husband lol) and couldn't get it off until this past year (see *SWEATY HIJAB*)
5 Snacks I Like
  • Riz wa Halib [Rice Pudding] (I'm with ya there Aalia!)
  • Black Olives in salty brine not oil. The whole Olive so you can put it on your fingers and wiggle them menecingly at people.
  • Jello (Halal) my fav flavor is Pineapple or Cherry.
  • Homemade popcorn or caramel popcorn..... man KEEP IT AWAY FROM ME PLZ or i WILL eat it ALL!
  • CHERRIES!!!! YUMMMMMMM! esp the "in season" Cherries in Lebanon every summer Ohhh man. My M-I-L knows she's gotta get me some and I'll be so happy. Course I know I'll hog them so I always buy three kilos more for "everyone" ;)
5 things I would do if I was a (multi-)millionaire
  • Build a large masjid with a LARGE women's area and I'd spend my whole time (besides caring for my family) taking care of it and cleaning it Ya Rabb!
  • Open a large Orphanage for needy children around the world and they'd all be taught homeschool style by individual tutors. Ya Rabb!
  • Buy my parents-in-law a beautiful house in the Jabal(mountains) of Lebanon with a beautiful view for their summer house and a room for every one of their children(with their children) that come to visit and sleep over. And buy them a large home in Beirut and maybe even a whole building for all the family to live in. Ya Rabb!
  • Buy my parents their own private jet to come visit me all the time. And of course they'd have thier own house too. Ya Rabb!
  • Get myself a live-in maid (who'd I'd pay extremely well and she can have her own house with her husband and kids next door to me) so that my husband can be always happy with a perfectly clean house constantly. And I can consintrate on my family and writing and homeschooling. Ya Rabb!
5 places I have lived ( for various lengths of times)

  • Tucson, Arizona, USA
  • Tempe/Mesa, Arizona, USA
  • Greater Beirut (Dequaine, Nai'me), Lebanon
  • Sannaiya, Al-Ain, UAE
  • Kuwaitat, Al-Ain, UAE

5 Jobs I have had

  • Student - hey school is tough I totally consider it a job.
  • Hospital - Volunteer helper for running errand, refilling things, answering phones etc.
  • Personal Assistant - Helping a massues with keeping track of her daily life and doing misc. for her
  • English Nursery (Pre-School) Teacher - In Lebanon and UAE. (and a babysitter before that in AZ lol)
  • Movie Theater Worker: Made Aalia's favorite Popcorn and Nachos ;) , cleaned theaters (not as gross as people would think it is), cleaned lobby, took tickets, sold tickets etc....
5 people I Tag

8:51 PM

"MaaSalaama" Bush

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

"This is a farewell kiss, you dog," Muntadhar Al-Zeidi yelled in Arabic as he threw his shoes at President Bush. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

From me too. I support! I applaud! I shout encore! I laughed myself breathless with glee!

The sheer brilliance of using your shoe as a weapon. There is the real Iraqi Weapon of Mass Destruction! A pair of shoes! AAAHAHAHAHAAAA.

Sooo befitting a send off for the worst President in perhaps the History of America. A shame it didn't hit him smack on his arrogant forehead. It said in news reports that his shoes were being held in custody. For some reason this makes me laugh. It is the only thing everyone in the room managed to get past security: their shoes. Perhaps from now on people will have to act like Muslims and take off their shoes before entering a building for a conference. New Anti-Shoe Acts are being formulated around the world.

Masha'Allah this man, this strong brave BRILLIANT man! Who stood up as we all should have. Who put a bad man in his rightful place -ducking for the floor. Sadly he's been captured. Although in the video did you see the President's security running in looking darn sheepish AAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA. Secret Service Masterminds they are not. The Iraqi's are holding a rally to free this man and I think we on the blog lands have a duty too to free this HERO. Feel free to forward this to one and all to encourage freeing this wonderful man.


A news reported that some wondered who will be brave enough to hit Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when she comes to visit the Middle East again. I wonder though what the shoe will be. I think this beautiful Stiletto would be perfect. Any takers? Who will be the next hero?

I'm sure Obama will be extra careful not to piss off us now that he knows we have an unlimited source of weapons. Our own shoes.

Those who are already tisking me for my "UnAmerican Thoughts" Puleeeeeze! More than half USA hates Bush. Bush deserves far worse. I pray some day he'll be held accountable for his WAR CRIMES.

THANK YOU HABAYEB! On her site is the video of Bush getting shoes thrown at him.

7:44 AM

Tagged: Islamic Survey

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Lazeena at Is there food on my Niqab? posted a cool Islamic Survey and I HAVE to do it too :)
You all are free to copy and paste on your blogs with your own awesome answers.

Name: Brandy A. Chase
Age: 24
Location: Al-Ain, U.A.E., Middle East, Earth, Milky Way, Universe, Creation of Allah ... didn't you all used to have fun saying all that as a kid?
Background: American: Scottish and mixed Euro.
Spouse (if so, name and background): Husband, Lebanese
How long have you been married? 6 years
Kids? Daughter 4, Son 1.4
Are you a revert? Yup. AKA Convert for those that aren't familiar with the convert/revert debate. Been Muslim for 7 years now.. wow have I?!?!?! Masha'Allah. Doesn't always feel like that long but on the other hand it feels like FOR EVER........
Have you been to Hajj or Umrah? NO :( Insha'Allah when my kids are teens I'll get the chance as I posted before.
How many masjid have you been to? Masha'Allah Lazeena knew the names of all her Masjids. Sadly I dont. In Tucson, AZ there was only one and by the time i left they hadn't built the second though they were raising funds for it and I gave all I had at that time which was like $7.64 so maybe I bought like four bricks alhamdulliah. Then in Tempe, AZ I went to the beautiful Masjid there. While driving around in Phoenix, AZ I went to two or three other ones. Then of course in Lebanon I've been to let's see..... 10 or 11 different masjids (they are plentiful masha'Allah). Now in UAE of course I've been to the Shiek Zayed one in Abudhabi and The Jumairah one in Dubai and here there and in between I've been to 18 approx. SO TOTAL 34 approx. Masha'Allah.
Have you ever been involved with a masjid? Yes Masha'Allah, in Tucson I regularly attended the girls saturday classes then later when they stoped I used to go and clean the masjid cause I didn't like the way the non-muslim cleaners were doing it, i still can't beleive they hired non-muslims to clean it!!!! Why not employ a muslim couple and give them baraka!!! Then in Tempe I'd help out here and there but they had so many volunteers and I lived far off in Mesa with no car so it was tough to get there as often as others. So far here and in Lebanon I haven't worked witht he masjid but in Lebanon they had classes AT masjids. But I LOVE MASJIDS MASHA'ALLAH.
Who are some of your favorite lectures by? My fellow bloggers! :) ok ok ya'll want name dropping right?!?! Well of course Hamza Yusuf. Shiekh Abdullah (Leb.), my father-in-law is a Shiekh and give us a good lecture now and then, but other than that sorry I don't get to hear many lectures but I really do like them when I do get the chance to hear them.
Who are some of your favorite recitors? *blank look* erm.... as I don't understand the Arabic I just listen to people reciting it in public as in Ramadan,or my Husband or his family. On TV I see them doing recitations and some are very beautiful but I hate those that are SINGING QUR'AN. RECITE people not SING! My mother-in-law has a sweet voice masha'Allah.
Some of your favorite Islamic books? *my own books I'm writing*, Qur'an, Hadith, Fiqh, Intructional, Inspirational, The Idiots Guide to Islam, The Choice by Ahmad Deedat, The Summery by Shiekh Abdullah, and more recently I've been hearing about Muslim authors like myself who have written awesome books yet I personally haven't had the chance to buy and read them. Sister Saffiyah at Shalom 2 Salam has some great short stories and Poems on her blog (love you too!). Many sisters out there have some nice Stories on their blogs too that I haven't had time to read yet though saw they are there.
Decribe your most memorable Eid: It WILL BE IN THE FUTURE when I get to finally attensd my first Eid prayer. I've never in 7 years been able to go to one..... no one will take me. But on the bright side each E'id has been special esp. when you have lots of family to visit. My favorite was this past E'id. It felt special because I go to do so much and visit so many and I'll blog soon about it insha'Allah.
When did you first start fasting? Well I missed my first fasting 2001 as a new muslim because I didn't know about it NO ONE TOLD ME! But when I moved to Tempe/Mesa 2002 I was able to do it and Masha'Allah it was so beautiful. i even stayed at the masjid on and off the last 10 days and learned to memorize my first Surah.
When did you start hijab? I converted at the begining of the school year 2001-2002 of my 12th grade. I wore it the first day of my conversion for about a few weeks until school started then took it off. Then half way through school year in Jan. or Feb. I put it back on. Then later by a year I had to take it off for finding a job (though still wore full length clothes). Once I got the job i put it back on. Didn't take it off since. Alhamdulliah.
What's your usual outift like when you go out? Usually wide pants and long sleeved shirt, or if a skirt then black bloomers and long dark socks under the skirt jsut in case I fall-- under a black abaya with annoying velco closure on the shoulder and snaps in three places along the front and the middle one is broken and has been replaced by a hijab pin and the bottom one is always popping open and I'm always closing it, and a hijab. Either square and triangled or long wide rectangle.
What do you like about blogging? EVERYTHING! The conceptulizing of posts, the writing, the comments ....erm where has my comment rate gone? I must not be doing good enough posts lately or advertising so the exchanging of views with fellow sisters (and brothers), the finding of info about the Ummah, making friends all over the beautiful world.
Describe your first feelings wearing hijab---
Hijab: I was sooo excited. I was gonna be Muslim and I was gonna wear it on my head to show I'm muslim and everyone was gonna SEE it and know that I've chosen Islam. Masha'Allah. Sometimes we forget that excitement in the Middle East because people don't really stare at us to make us remeber why we wear it. We just toss it on and go.
Abayah: I too was relieved! It was sooo much easier to work with when you wanted to go places and be fully covered. Yet the trouble I had with it was trying to wear full clothes under it that cover your body just as if you aren't wearing the abaya for the parts that show when you move (the ankles, the wrists, the body in case it falls open). I call it a Muslim coat. It's like one more layer over your "normal" clothes.
Niqab: I loved the Niqab! It was so wonderful being unseen. I love the look I love the feel I love the texture I love everything except eating in it lol.
How do you pin your hijab? *with pins* hehehehe. ok ok seriously now... the triangle I put TWO pins under the chin (cause they are easy to pop) then one about three inches under that about neck level and the final one at chest level. I'm very carefully to fold the material in as I pin it leaving lots of material IN the pin so taht when it stretches there wont be any gaps in the pin and between pins. It's harder to do but then you're properly covered without worrying all day. The rectangle I put an under scarf over the hair and a full amirah hijab if it's see through material and then leaving about shoulder length on one side start the wrap around once then twice and pin straight pins on the temples usually two each side through ALL LAYERS. Although i do love the look of a fancy flower pin at the temple too. I use lots of pins to make sure that baby sticks. i hate re-doing it every few minutes.
Highlight the countries you know Muslims from*add any countries you don't see on the list*: Antarctica (who knows Muslims from there!? Masha'Allah!), Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chechnya, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Latvia, Lithoania, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Taiwan, Trinidad, Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Yemen, Yugoslavia,
What was on the last prayer mat you made salah on? It's green with yellow and white sections and black of course. it has a large masjid I think in India (no not the taj mahal) on it and it's sooo beautiful and it's the mat I first got when I converted for free by a generous brother masha'Allah.
What's your ideal iftar? Dates, and water, followed by Turkish soup, a few fried cheese rolls on the side, hommos without olive oil, chicken breast on yellow rice with raisins and roasted nuts, with laban mixed with cucumbers and mint on the side, to drink mango or strawberry juice or Vimto (berry juice), then after dinner light mint tea and deserts like baklawa, rice pudding, brownie cakes...erm anything with sugar..... Ya'll did say IDEAL not actual.
What type of adhaan really gets to you? The kind where you can hear one after another starting and they each have distintly different voices and one is so perfect to your ear that you seek it in the middle of the many, And you follow saying after it, and they all end one after another. Masha'Allah.
What's something that annoys you at Jummah: People arriving late. People shoudl strive to reach the Masjid Before the second athan. If they only know the reward of being the first to arrive!
What was the last surah you read? (not recited in salah): in Arabic Ikhlas with my daughter, but in English I read Surah 27: Al Naml (the ants) ayah 44: She[Bilqis, queen of Sheba] was asked to enter the lofty Palace: but when she saw it, she thought it was a lake of water, and she (tucked up her skirts), uncovering her legs. He said: "This is but a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass." She said: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul: I do (now) submit (in Islam), with Solomon, to the Lord of the Worlds."
Do you dry yourself after wudu? Though it's disliked yeah I do, When I'm out at the mall or soemthing I dry everything so I can get dressed again without wet feet and face etc. At home I just dry arms if I'm wearing long sleeves and always my face because I wear glasses and it bothers me to pray with water drops on my glasses.
Do you brush your teeth for fajr salah? Funny question lol. I'll be honest most the time i dont' brush before praying but I do rince my mouth plenty with water while I Wudu so it's not sticky and yucky, course i do bruish before I sleep.... if I do notice something strong then I'll brush.
Whats the last Islamic thing you've been involved with? :'-( Waaahhhh nothing! I feel so pathetic! *weep* Just trying to daily get by with my duties. But I guess long term I'm working towards publishing Islamic Books and raise good Muslim family.
What was the last convention you went to? *blink blink* Last? Never been to one. Though I hear a lot of people go for shoping and meeting potential spouses so I never knew what they were for until I heard critisism online about people going for these things and not the lectures and I was like hmm they have lectures? Never heard of that... might be nice to go to some some day....
Have you ever been part of an Islamic matrimonial site? *blushes* Yes.... but it's not how I met my husband so I deleted them.... they CAN be good if used the right way.
hat color is the carpet in the masjid you usually attend? Light Blueish-grey, pretty.
Is the masjid you usually attend separated? Yes the womens is up top and the mens is ground floor. Though unless there is an elevator this is unfair as women have strollers and if handicapped wheelchairs... there should be a section down stairs if thre is no elevator for poeple in need!!!! one terribly planned masjid in Lebanon had get this, up stairs prayer for men and ground floor for men prayer and wudu, down two floors for women prayer and down three floors for main women prayer and wudu. Yes it's a big masjid BUT SOO ANOYING WHEN PREGNANT AND HOLDING A SMALL KID TO WALK DOWN THREE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS TO MAKE WUDU THEN UP ANOTHER FLIGHT TO PRAY THEN UP TWO FLIGHTS TO GO HOME!!!!!!!!! No fair no fair no fair!
Have you ever stood in a minbar? *grin* Yes, I like to walk around the mens section when there is no one there (in tucson and Tempe) because they have the more beautiful side usually and I climbed up the minbar a few times. jsut to see what it's like.
Have you ever washed a dead body before? Not islamically speaking no but I helped my aunt wipe down my Grandmother and change her clothes when she died.
What's the last thing you ate in the masjid? erm, i don't even remeber it was soo long ago because it's makruh to eat and dirty the masjid but I think another sister at the mall masjid was eating cookies and gave me and my kids some and I carefully had a nibble then had a heartattack trying to keep my kids crumbs off the floor....
Where's the strangest place you've seen a Muslim working? I haven't seen persoanlly but I've heard of sisters working in Haram places like bars. Of course I was working at the Movies and people thought that was strange.
Have you ever posted a flier in the masjid? Yes about the Girl's Meetings
Rate your masjid's bathroom: Clean alhamdulliah. Tucson's used to make me angry though because they'd put the mop and cleaning stuff right next in the wudu area and they use it to clean the bathroom floors, hense why they shouldn't use non-muslim cleaners....
Have you ever used a bidet for istinja?:Yes my aunt-in-law had one in her hosue and I tried it out and it was akward and difficult and I prefer the hand held sprayer.
What's the weirdest thing that happened to you in salah? Having to pray holding a baby (which wasn't the weird part), but poeple praying next to me offering to hold the baby for me while I pray {while they pray- or dont pray} Jummah. I'm like erm no! (holding my baby tighter so they couldn't grab her not talking of course) We all came here to pray so worry about yourself!
Isn't it annoying when the imam tells everyone to shut off their cell phones and someone's phone rings in the middle of salah? Yes it's VERY VERY annoying espcially if it's music ringing and suddenly in the middle of sujuud you get "I wanna F- you Nigg*** and get it on with your girl on the floor...." erm yyyyyeahhhh I bet that Brother got a talking to! Sadly sometimes though I forget before going in to pray to turn it off but alhamdulliah no one has called me.
What's some of the best halal food you've had (from a non Muslim country)? Well Ali Baba restraunt in Tucson has great food and in Tempe the Phoneician Cafe restrauint next to teh masjid is yummy.
What was it like when you found out skittles were haram? *spits out skittle..* Skittles are Haram?!?!?! They sell them here in UAE and UAE has banned candy with haram gelatin in them so i thought they are safe..... but Lazeena's answer has made me question now.... I love gellied candies so i have to be careful..... but perhaps UAE has let them because it has halal gelatin? like a pack of usa marshmellows said fish gelatin on the back....
What's something haram that you think most people don't know? That saying or doing something in the catagory of Blasphemy will take you out of Islam and you have to retake Shahada or die as a non-muslim. It's very serious and VERY unknown. You have to carefully study the catagory of Blasphemy and what things cause it. A sister is making a blog as I speak about this I'll link you when it's up. Insha'Allah. May Allah protect us from loosing Islam.
What's the craziest hijabi fashion you've seen? Well it looks silly but also interesting is wearing hats on top of hijabs. I'm sure we could blog five years about this lol.
What did you like about this survey?? Everything was answerable and I didn't have to write "Not applicable, I'm Muslim." Though perhaps someone will asnwer this survey "Not applicable I'm not-Muslim." lol.

Feel free to do it yourself.

5:03 AM

Vexing VAXes

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Vaccines are hot topic Number One when it comes to parenting. To get them and watch your child suffer a reaction to them and of course the trauma of being needled, and have possible complications and die, OR to not get them, be needle free, sure your child wont have a bad reaction to something he didn't get, and pray he doesn't catch what the vaccine is for and die.
The main point both sides have in this great debate is: Reaction/Suffering AND Death.
Both of these Mommies and Daddies fear.
I for one as a new Mommy in Lebanon dutifully got my daughter VAXed. Right on schedule and wrung my heart out watching her suffer painful injection sites for weeks. It would swell badly and no amount of cold or warm compress eased the pain. I loaded her with paracetamol and still the fevers came. I was a Mother in Misery (yes capitol M's). Yet next VAX time I dutifully marched her back to the clinic. Don't get me wrong she's a healthy girl masha'Allah but it was torture to get her VAXed and watch her suffer "slight" reaction as the doctors called it. Then my son was born and I dutifully allowed the first "mandatory" shot at birth here in UAE. Then i got to reading on the net all kinds of things about VAXs and how they can cause deadly reactions in some susceptible children. How they can cause brain problems and who wants really to pump their children full of odd chemicals? So I became anti-VAX! No way were they gonna stick another needle in this cute chubby thigh. But as the day passed when I was supposed to get the next VAX I stared at that card really hard and tried to weigh basically the life of my child. Because it's the child's life in essence that is on the line either way. At this time my boy was screaming his head off at diaper changes in a way that pierces your ear down to your heart. I couldn't imagine what scream he'd make getting VAXed and any reaction to it. It didn't feel right. My Mommy Meter said NO WAY! SO I put it off and convinced my husband that VAXs might not be so safe as others once thought. It wasn't easy but he agreed to put it off. I kept putting it off and off until one day little Boy bonked his head really hard and it swelled super fast. Rushed to the doc, Doc said he needs a test to test for a rare blood disease that runs in families where girls carry it but it harms the boys. An expensive test that had to be flown to Germany. Aha! My Mommy Meter said, it was good to wait. So we did the test. Something happened to the blood sample and it coagulated too fast and was ruined so a few weeks later (no rush i don't want VAXes anyways....) I made him take it again (his first needles to draw blood ugh...). Then I had to wait a week or two for results and a month later I got around to finding results (again no hurry).
But by then something happened to make me change my mind. Husband got Malaria. This made me realize how no where is safe on the whole Earth from ANY disease. Where ever Allah Wills to strike will be struck. I felt my innocent VAX free boy was a sitting duck. Had I been in America I think I would have felt a little safer because although travel is widespread world-wide there are more restrictions to enter America from contaminated countries. Where-as here in UAE you have people coming literally from every Nation on Earth because Dubai is a "hot-spot for making money" and they need lower class workers to fill in the basics jobs and they come from poorer nations mostly that have bad problems with disease controls. And everywhere you go in UAE you brush with them or with someone who has brush with them. My poor sitting duck.
So we took him after finding out he's cleared from this test from Germany to get a VAX to one of the free clinics to get him VAXed. I was a nervous wreck. He has to play catch-up now. So they shot him three times, one in each thigh and one in the arm. I admit the nurse was Class A+ in insertion, it was painful for him yes but there was no lumping after. No swelling or tenderness really. I was impressed. She lifted the thigh with a pinching motion before inserting it and it seemed to help. Boy of course screamed his head off and took the strength of Distraught Daddy and Mother in Misery to hold him down. But unlike Daughter, who whimpered for days after, not a single peep was heard after we left the office. What a tough boy masha'Allah. He had slight fever and runny nose (which of course worried us) after but we fought it with Paracetamol. I was relieved that we had waited until now when he was stronger and probably more able to handle fighting the diseases. UNTIL..............

My son started having spots. I ran to my Baby books and frantically searched page after page and was semi-relieved that sometimes after MMR there is spots but then there were more spots and more spots. They grew pimple looking with fluid inside. Not typical M or M or R looking. So off to the docs. She said it's either a reaction to the VAX or Chicken Pox..... I was stunned of course... Because they were fluid filled it turns out they are CHPox. So I dutifully applied Calamine Lotion and gave oral anti-histamines but poor boy was still screaming at the itchiness all night fora few nights. Then I found out when fully clothed in moderately restrictive clothes and socks it helped the itching stop so I did that to help over the Calamine Lotion. Alhamdulliah now he is better but he looked like he was wearing Pink War Paint all over his body.
Because he had CHPox though and my daughter never had it and I didn't think I could mentally handle two screaming itchy kids at the same time I caved and finally got daughter the Chicken Pox VAX. She was so brave this time and had only slight fever after for a few days. My friends I've talked to recently have told me Chicken Pox as an adult is torture and can be life threatening so I was relived my Husband's Mother had him VAXed in Lebanon and I had HAD the Chicken Pox as a child. I still remember the itching and all the odd spots.
So after this long journey of illness in the past month I've realized every child should be weighed individually before undergoing the Vexing VAXes. As a parent you have to weigh the life of your own child personally and do your own research to decide what is best for your child for the area you live in. I don't believe VAXes are perfect for every child but I think in some cases especially in epidemic areas and areas that could easily become epidemic suddenly (LIKE UAE!) there is a greater benefit to outweigh the possible risk*except those who have weak immune systems and should be seen by the doctors first and tested*

So weigh carefully and with thoroughness.

7:48 AM

E'id Mubarak! Rainbows!

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Here is a double rainbow wishing you well on your E'id days. May you see things twice as lovely!

The first time I saw a double rainbow I was stepping outside Wal-Mart on a rainy day and my dad pointed up and there it was a beautiful set of rainbows. I wasn't the only one with their head crained up to the sky in the parking lot. Nearly everyone just stopped and stared at the marvel.

Subhan'Allah what a beautiful creation.

In Lebanon in the rainy seasons I had a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea and every day there would be a rainbow. Some days double rainbows and about once a week I'd get to see the rare triple rainbows. Sadly at this time I didn't have a good camera to document it. But it's just the cheeriest thing you can imagine to see three rainbows gliding across the sea and land.
(Heh by the way my rent was only $150 USD so believe me there are places with the most coveted view that are cost friendly).

So on this E'id I'm wishing you all beauty and happiness and a marvel of Allah's creations.

9:14 AM

When to Hajj?

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

For many of people out there Hajj is something they can do every year. They make their yearly plans and get on with it. For a great many others Hajj will be a real once in a lifetime opportunity. Many have to decide WHEN they will go to Hajj. Common Sense tells us that if a person wants all their sins forgiven they should wait until they are much older and have had more sins to wipe off. Others believe "No time like the present". I think the majority though do it when they can afford it. No matter what else is happening in their lives or how old they are.
I've been thinking very hard lately about when my chance will be to do Hajj. Just yesterday I was reading about it and getting misty-eyed at the thought of traveling the path that millions have trod before. The idea that I will be surrounded by millions of fellow Muslims bowing in front of the same object that our beloved Prophets have touched amazes me and fills me with a great longing to go there.
When I left Lebanon I made the intention with my husband that we would come to this new country (UAE) and try to save for Hajj. So far not even a half a dirham we've managed. But the problem with planning for Hajj is not just the money. Sure, it's a big part of it but that's not all.
Children. You can't take small children for Hajj. Perhaps you CAN but I would be deathly afraid. I've seen on TV people being trampled. Grown people with strength and height. My little toddling headstrong boy and my waif thin daughter don't stand a chance. I have to wait to do Hajj until they can physically be capable to join us. Since we are going to need a long time to save up that kind of money I was thinking, "Why not wait until they are pubescent?" Therefore when we go for our Hajj they too will have undertaken their personal obligation for Hajj. I think that's one of the best gifts a parents could give their child. Plus it would be an awesome bonding experience for a family to do together.
My sister-in-law H (the older one) left her sufficiently older kids with Tayta (her mother) when she went for Hajj. This too can be a good thing if you have someone reliable to watch your children for almost two weeks and if your children are of an age where they can stand to be away from you for so long. My two would go absolutely crazy without me there. The longest I've been away from my daughter is overnight when having my son and she was with her Father and Grandmother so not so difficult for her. And I've never been away from my son for longer than an hour, you know like once every two months. So for me I have no one here in UAE that can watch my kids for two weeks. Plus my children are the most important people in my life and why would I leave them out of the most important experience in my life? The things they could learn from Hajj are just as important as the things I could. And they could learn it at an earlier age .
Some selfish parents (I think) will leave their young babies (some of them still nursing!) with relatives to go for Hajj when they could easily wait a few years more until their children are more mature to understand the slight abandonment. I don't understand these parent's mentality at all. How could you circumbate the Kabbah knowing your darling baby is in tears wondering where it's Mommy/Daddy has run off to.

So for now I'm thinking to keep trying to save up for Hajj for when my kids are like 15/16 years old (unless in the future Allah Wills for me to have more younger children then I'll have to postpone until THEY are older). I think that age would be perfect to understanding and taking on the challenges of Hajj. And again it would cover their accountability of completing a pillar of Islam.
So when are you planning to go for Hajj? Do your children factor into When you will go?

12:50 AM

1 Million *snap*

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

This is an odd post for sure but it's such an odd feeling to be captivated by a meer commercial. I'm talking about the commercial 1 Million by Paco Rabanne. It's a cologne for men. Being the person I am I notice the beautiful details in life and when something beautiful captures my eye it really stick with me.
I was watching ArabSat Channel MBC2 which plays US Movies interrupted by frequent short commercials. This commercial came on with such brilliant advertisement that it stuck with me and the fact that they played it twice with each commercial set surely helped it stick in my mind. here is the Video. I felt that to get this out of my system I needed to analyse why it's so powerfully attractive. As the Author of Romance Novels I wanted to understand how powerful images pull people's emotions. So I'm going to analyze each scene.

1 Million by Paco Rabanne -Click the link if for some reason I can't figure out how to load a video to watch the commerical.
Here is an intersting insight to the smell

(Scenes marked with *** were deleted from Arab viewing as censorship of unislamic things. So these scenes weren't part of what pulled me but I will analyze them since they are in the Internet video)

Scene 1: *** Intro: Music Start up, The music is a catchy sound to begin with with lots of abrupt pauses which are filled by the sound of a snap. We see a man enter the view. Let's talk about this man. This is male model Mat Gordon. His hair is rakishly combed forward and a bit to the side with uneven fringe. Showing youth, style, most important though covering the majority of his eyes and casting his other eye partly in shadow through most of the film. This is important because we are not clearly seeing HIM but what he represents. Thus his high cheekbones and long straight nose are highlighted. His chin stays carefully tucked down throughout the commercial focusing us on his body not on his face. His hair far is more noticeable than his features. His black well fitted expensive suit is highlighted by the slightly upturned white collar unbuttoned to mid chest. The upstanding collar also adds an air of rakishness to balance the triangle of his hair going the opposite direction. The light flashes on and off giving action for the eye to follow.
Scene 2: *** He snaps with a strong gracefully long fingered hand with a large power ring on the middle finger. Notice the form of the hand as it snaps. It is upright with the flick going backwards, thumb ending up, not dropping to the side as most people do when they snap. It's a snap of obedience. It's calling something. The something arrives promptly in the form of dice dropping. Music starts more rapidly.
Scene 3: (this is where the commercial intro-ed on MBC2) He is profiled in shadow from waist up as he snaps and end it this time in a pointing of his finger. Thumb is still up in the form of power. We sense the power of his body in this shot. The angle of his shoulders straight yet commanding yet his chin still tucked. The snap brings us to the next object a beautiful and expensive car (I don't know the model I'm not a car person really but perhaps Porche). The front beams turn on at his snap.
Scene 4: Now we've seen how powerful his snap is they focus back on him. His body: The chin finally tilts up showing his face more clearly. The chin raising shows a sense of arrogance along with wealth. He KNOWS he's wealthy and powerful and he likes it. His hair is swept back a little showing more clearly his eyes. The music pops out with an Oo! To punctuate the snaps.
Scene 5: *** His body all the way down to the accented hipbones fully bare chested accented by the white upturned collar shirt and black suit, two female arms grab him forcefully in a way that ripples the white shirt attractively.
Scene 6: Shows him having fun now with his power, dancing to his snap and throwing his shoulder in what I call a Power Snap. Try it yourself it feels powerful. A double snap brings a falling bag loaded with cold hard cash spilling out all over the smooth floor.
Scene 7: He licks his finger before the snap then *** flips his shirt open showing a flash of skin along his hipbone (well know female favorite view) and *** a drop of ice into most likely liquor.
Scene 8: Flipping the collar smartly of his overcoat up in the dark then standing in shadow in front of a casino. A double snap turns on the lights.
Scene 8+: *** Large pile of gambling chips stacked neatly while one chip clinks against the counter.
Scene 9: He's sitting laid back against an opulent leather chair with inlaid studs. His shirt is laid open to mid chest with that irresistible collar peaking up again. This Snap is different. It's forward directly facing his knuckles which is an unnatural movement thus making it more noticeable. Try it yourself it feels odd. The roulette wheel spins and the ball lands on the marker that presumably he wants it to land on.
Scene 10: Music speeds up after the gambling flashes and shows him really into his power now flinging his croppy hair sideways with the thrust of his Power Snap. His white shirt still the attracting factor with the flipped collar and half chest view.
Scene 11: Another close up view of the hand snapping. His face in dark then suddenly orange glow lights it from the side shadowing his eye still with the rakish hair. Orange/Gold fireworks blast in rapid succession (just for him ;) )
Scene 12: The light plays over the Gold Cologne Bottle showing "1 Million" in Old Fashioned Elegant Scroll as the Music slows down to let you take notice of the brand name.
Scene 13: Photographers (paparazzi) armed with lights and cameras vie for pictures flashing madly as the Music upbeats with chorus' of Oo! Oo! to punctuate the camera "snaps". He dances his head back and forth keeping his powerful chin in line. Accent on the collar and hair flips. Clearer view of his face. Notice he's wearing a vest now instead of a jacket over the white shirt. This adds definition to the side to side movement allowing you to see the flips of his shoulders more clearly.
Scene 14: A large old fashioned light glares brightly followed by a power snap and point as he snaps and dances and shows off his body's power.
Scene 15: He throws a side snap (which is my second favorite snap in the commercial) and that expensive powerful car spins it's wheels in the gravel as it races off showing the gleaming hubcaps and fender.
Scene 16: (My favorite snap) Hand in pocket to show relaxed power as a full body shot as he throws the Power Snap with hand remaining at head level. A woman takes notices of the snap and the allure of the power behind it (didn't we all) and turns wide eyed. Her long wavy blonde hair against black classy dressed shows she's one not normally easily impressed.
Scene 17: He has so much power in his snap he can even do it behind his back.
Scene 17+: ***The back of the woman's legs are shown from thigh to the floor (a classic male loved view of legs) and her skirt drops swiftly to the floor. Which shows in a subtle way that he can bed any woman. *Shown: Her glossy lips part slightly.
Scene18: Last snap, dark shadows again featuring the classic look of him throughout the commercial, hair still raked, collar still peeping up.
Scene 19: last scene showing the cologne glowing gold again against a black background and Narrator says: "1 Million, the new fragrance for men by Paco Rabanne" as Paco's name glints in gold.

My take on this the first time I saw it was: it caught my eye when most commercials don't. Obviously it was about a man who has money and power and gets whatever he wants with the snap of his fingers. It's about class. Make that Class with a capital C. And Class is always appealing even when there are single images we don't like. I for one did NOT like them portraying him snapping and the woman turns (though again didn't we female all turn). We women are not dogs to be called by the snap of our "masters". The idea he can snap his fingers and her skirt drops is revolting. The alcohol and gambling parts of course I don't like and I was happy that they were edited out when aired here. After watching and being drawn to it I felt the pull to buy it. More importantly I knew men were going to feel the pull to buy it. For men especially Gulf Arabs who many (not all) already think they can get what they want with a snap will find this video extremely appealing especially (thankfully unshown here) where her skirt drops. So on the whole I applaud Paco Rabanne for a well made commercial that for once worked on me. Yet I gotta say again Paco shame on you, we aren't dogs. We feel the pull of a powerful man yes but if you think I'm gonna drop my skirt at the snap of a man's hand you have got your jeans snapped a little tight.

7:45 AM

Job Title?

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

My highschool friend Jen had this posted on her blog and I HAD to borrow it from her.

A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office, was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.
She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
"What I mean is, " explained the recorder, "do you have a job or are you just a ..?"
"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman. "I'm a Mom."
"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it," Said the recorder emphatically.
I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."
"What is your occupation?" she probed.
What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
"I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."
The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in m midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.
I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest,"just what you do in your field?"
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,
"I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
and already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?)
and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.
As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."
What a glorious career!
Especially when there's a title on the door.
..Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations"
And great grandmothers "Executive Senior Research Associates?"
I think so!!!

This made me laugh so much. I can't tell you how many times you get asked out here what is your job. Other women ask it especially at meetings. "So what's your job? I mean do you have a job?" They say. I posted already my dislike for the term "housewife". Now when asked I say Writer but this one above just might work too ;) If only I can remember the long explanation and memeorize it in Arabic so they don't turn to my husband and ask him "Shoo shouglak martak?" And he will reply "Housewife!"

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