Worth-it Travel with Fam

AsSalam Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

So last month, I traveled to the East with my parents for a 3-week vacation. It was a wonderful experience although we were trapped in a typhoon during the tour in the last week. Basically I’m blogging these to share ideas in case you want to go for a vacation and explore new places.

First week: Philippines

According to our dear friend Wikipedia, “The Philippines is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.” (See more here in Wikipedia)

I stayed in Manila, which is the capital city of the country. Phlippines by the way is a non-Islamic country. Christianity or Roman Catholic is the most practiced religion there. People practicing Islam are less than 10% and they are living mainly in the southern part of the country. This explains why it was so rare to see hijabis around me. Nevertheless, it didn’t make me feel awkward at all. It made me feel protected even. My heart is jumping for joy whenever I see people wearing hijabs around me. My family, who are not Muslims by the way, are so supportive of me wearing my hijab and regarding food preferences Alhamdulillah.

Searching for halal foods was a challenge but there are halal restaurants nearby and some supermarkets in the mall are selling halal chicken or beef. I preferred to eat at home because the dishes cooked by my mother is the best. I spent almost everyday eating seafoods.

There are no prayer rooms in the mall so I used the breastfeeding stations/rooms for praying. It’s a perfect spot because they are making sure each cubicles are clean, the space is big enough for me to do my prayers and most of the time it’s quiet because all babies are feeding. Haha. I just had to talk nicely to the person in charge to allow me. I tried using fitting rooms before but some are a little bit small and doesn’t give me enough space to do Rukoo.

Second week: Singapore

It’s not my first time to go to Singapore, I think 3rd or 4th, and I will keep on coming back there if I have the chance. In Shaa Allah. Singapore is a very small country but it has so many nice places to visit. On top of that, I always love to be in Singapore because there are many Muslims, hijabis everywhere! Masjids and halal restaurants are easy to find. The malls have food section that offers halal foods and best thing is they are separating the utensils used for halal and non-halal foods. Alhamdulillah!

Cutlery is STRICTLY for HALAL food consumption ONLY.  I am so happy!

This photo was taken in  Changi Airport. This airport always amazes me because it is so beautiful, clean, organized and always have new things to look forward to.

Ma Shaa Allah!

Most of the time, I was staying at my brother’s home. I was making the most of my time playing with my so adorable nieces. We went for a weekend staycation in a hotel though near the airport. In case you will be coming here, Capri by Fraser hotel residences is a good place to stay for a weekend private bonding with your family. This hotel is near the airport but a little bit far from the famous tourist spots. Within the area is a mall which has halal foods and outlet shops for brands like Nike, Clarks and so on.

Third Week: Back to Philippines for a tour

The last week of my vacation was spent back in Philippines but out of the city. We travelled by land for 8 hours going to the North. It was almost ruined because of the typhoon but Alhamdulillah we were able to visit some places and the beach!

Notice the clouds, they are about to cry! Haha. I’m out of the sandbox! Yey! Unfortunately this photo doesn’t give justice to the real beauty of the beach. SubhanAllah!

They have this sand dunes experience but I was so scared to do it. (My 62-year old aunt did!) I just jumped in this truck to have this photo taken. Lol

A week ago, I came back here in the sandbox and I was welcomed with a 42 deg C temperature! Let me go back to the beeeeaaaccchh!! Lol.

Alhamdulillah for the safe travels and fun adventures with the family.

I am looking forward to another travel and top of my list now are Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and Jordan. In shaa Allah ❤️

 

 

Giving up is NOT an option!

It’s been quite some time since I started learning the Arabic Language but I’m still having difficulty. I know I cannot perfect it in an instant but sometimes, or should I say most of the time, I am feeling so hopeless already. Despite the fact that I am married to an Arabic-speaking man, we don’t have enough time to sit and discuss every details of the Arabic Language like a teacher does in school. Besides, I feel bad if I will take his time to take rest after his stressful work. But of course, I know he is more than willing to help me to learn. I can feel his support by providing for me books, computer programs and he is  always ready to answer whenever I have questions. Alhamdulillah.

Basicallly, I am learning this language without a formal class. I started watching videos in YouTube and then I tried to complete the Rosetta Stone, a computer program for learning different languages. I liked it at first but eventually I stopped because I thought it’s better to learn the language with the Qur’anic words because my sole purpose of learning Arabic is to be able to read the Qur’an and understand it. In Shaa Allah.

I am not good in online classes. I feel sleepy and bored. I don’t feel the hype or excitement when no human is around me, moreover, my eyes cannot tolerate to stare in the laptop screen for long time. I tried the Madinah Arabic program in YouTube but unfortunately I was not able to finish it.

I looked for a teacher who I can have a one on one class but it’s a little bit pricey that’s why now I’m back to studying myself online. It’s difficult for me but I don’t have other options. I came to the point when I just cried and felt sad. I felt my tongue just twisted and I was mispronouncing the letters.

I have basic knowledge in Arabic, I can read but in a slow pace. I can write as well but I always have the problem in spelling especially in the long and short vowels. I guess because my native language doesn’t deal with that. I want to increase my vocabulary as well so I can understand the Arabic words that I am reading. In shaa Allah.

I need to organize myself and put more effort in studying the Arabic Language. I feel guilty that I have wasted a lot of time already. I want to know which class best suits me. I have to step my foot forward and stop procrastinating because Allah will question me at the end. Astagfirullah . May Allah forgive me.

I will be so happy to know your studying tips for learning Arabic Language. I know each of us are different but who knows, maybe it will be good for me as well. Guess I have to try and try until I succeed. In shaa Allah.

May Allah increase me in knowledge and make it easy for me in learning the Arabic Language. Ya RAbb!

P.S. Can you mention some fatwa regarding reading the Qur’an along with the reciter from my ipod (a recorded audio) with the intention of getting used to the  words and as a reading practice? Is it permissible or forbidden? Jazakum Allahu Khairan. 

I am from there, he is from here

I am watching the live coverage of the Masjid Al Harram in Makkah while writing this post and I remember the time my husband brought me there after a couple of weeks after our marriage. We didn’t go for honeymoon and travel to the beautiful places and beaches in the world like the newly-wed couple does. Instead, we packed our things and travelled to Makkah for Umrah and paid a visit to Madinah. It was my first time. It was his nth time. He told me, bringing me there is the top in his list after getting married.

We are a product of an interracial marriage. I love my husband unconditionally but differences are inevitable. Most people say that opposites attract, but for me, two people have chemistry because they acknowledge each others differences. They know how to compromise and give way to each other. They respect each other.

My parents didn’t say anything against my marriage but I felt that they were a little bit scared. It’s not that they don’t care for me, to allow me to a such marriage but because I know they trust me. They just advised me to think about the possible consequences before engaging myself in it. Before we got married, we’ve been praying for Istikharra. I believed nobody can tell me what is the right thing to do except Allah.  If this marriage is for the goodness of both of us, He will facilitate everything for us. And He did. Alhamdulillah!

It’s been two years, quiet young I know, and we are still adapting to each other.

He is an Arab, I am not.

Learning Arabic is not only to communicate with my husband but for the main purpose of  being able to read and understand the Holy Qur’an. Unfortunately, until now I am not fluent in speaking Arabic even the slang or colloquial. Many times I was put in the situation when I was with his friend’s wives and I ended up being out of place. Although they tried to talk to me in English, they told me it’s just difficult for them. Well, so it is for me that’s why I’m still trying to learn Arabic.

Since I am a food lover, adapting to their cuisine is never been difficult to me. I love their food especially their sweets.  I tried to learn how to make their meals so I can serve it to my husband. There are times I am craving for my traditional food also so I will end up preparing both cuisines in the same day. We didn’t have issues about food at all because we are not forcing each other, instead we respect each other’s preferences.

For me, one of the advantage of interracial marriage is having the opportunity to learn new  things of different background and different perspective.

Sadly, when the families are not accepting the marriage, it’s making things complicated. When racism occurs, marriage is shaken. And I always have an answer for this. They cannot reject or despise this marriage because this is the will of Allah. This marriage is the fate He has given to these couple. He is the One who facilitated this union. My husband once told me, if Allah doesn’t want us to get married, it will not be facilitated even if we try every possible way. And I agree. Do you?

Revert Life

For the continuation of my previous post regarding my revert story, here it is!

So 3 years ago, I accepted Islam in my life. I took my shahada in an Islamic Center in Saudi and attended the class once a week for more teachings. They taught us how to pray and performed it individually in front of the Saudi teachers. We used to recite Surahs and memorize them every week. It was really helpful for me to learn faster. I was memorizing Surah at work during night shift when the area is not busy. I took advantage of the free time I had. It was not an easy journey but Alhamdulillah they gave me my Certificate of Conversion after 3 months. (I needed the certificate to change my religion in my residence permit in Saudi)

My Family. Before I started attending the classes, I already informed by parents that I am interested in Islam and I have plans of learning more. When I finally accepted Islam, I told them through phone and they didn’t say anything against my decision. Unfortunately some of my relatives were against it. They were even attacking me for disrespecting my parents because of changing my religion and not asking for their opinion. Recently, I learned that my mother cried because of sadness when I became a Muslim but she didn’t tell me because she didn’t want to hurt me. May Allah forgive my mother’s sins and give her hidayah.

My colleagues. I didn’t tell everybody about my conversion to Islam. I only had few trusted people in my workplace, eventually they are the ones covering me up whenever I will go for prayers in my room. It’s not that I am ashamed of my new religion but I felt I was not strong enough to face their criticism and I was afraid of getting hurt especially from the non-muslims. I thought I needed more time and more knowledge to defend myself to everybody. I was like secretly preparing myself for a battle. I was studying and reading books about Islam.

My first prayers. I am a non-Arabic speaker so memorizing is very difficult for me, more so the pronunciation. I was taking long time to pray even just for two rakaats. I needed a very quiet place because a small noise can distract me and forget the next line. I even used to pray with a copy of Surah Al Fatiha and other short Surahs beside me just in case I get lost. During working hours (night shift), I used to hide in the vacant rooms so I can pray for Fajr. Some of my friends will help to cover me whenever  my patients will call.

My first Masjid Experience. I was alone when I went to the masjid for the first time. I was so nervous. I should be calm right? But I was nervous and anxious at the same time because I was scared that maybe I will not be able to do my prayer correctly during congregation. Asking Allah for support helped me a lot! I became calm when I entered the masjid Alhamdulillah! Now, I love to pray in the masjid because I am learning from the other sisters and I am able to focus more. I  love living here in Saudi because I am able to pray on time because masjids and prayer rooms are everywhere.

My first time to wear Hijab. I was not wearing hijab at work. I would wear it only whenever I will go to the mall or other places other than my workplace. Don’t judge me. I wasn’t ready. The day I left Saudi and went home to my country, I wore my hijab. My family picked me up from the airport. My mother was whispering to me if I can remove my hijab and answered her with a polite No, and she respected my decision. I heard my aunt at the back talking to my mother telling that they will get use to my new way of dressing eventually. From that day on, I didn’t remove my hijab.

Living with my Non-muslim family. I consider myself very blessed to have my family who understands the changes in me. I know a lot of revert stories which are too painful to bear. May Allah make them stronger and patient with the situation. Allahu Alam. I believe Allah will not give us challenges that we can’t bear.  Alhamdulillah, my parents are supportive. They are waking me up when they hear my alarm for Fajr, buy for me hijabs and modest clothes. May Allah invite my parents to Islam. Ya Rabb!

Friends. Some of my friends accepted the new me, and there are some who left me but it wasn’t a big deal for me. I believe Allah will protect me from the people who will try to hurt me. I met a lot of Muslim friends during the month of Ramadan. I attended Taraweeh prayers and got connected to them. We learned a lot from each other and we formed a group for Allah’s sake. Alhamdulillah!

May Allah guide me always to the straight path. Ya Rabb!

Now I am in the path of seeking knowledge because I still have a lot of things to learn.  I keep on reading books and listen to lectures. I love reading your blogs also because you inspire me with your stories so keep on writing my dear sisters and brothers!

My life is not perfect. I have struggles and challenges too that until now I am facing but I have to be strong and I have to be patient. As the Holy Qur’an says “Verily, with hardship there is relief.” (94:6)

P.S. I chose not to tell you my struggles so you will not feel sad. ☺️