Today was an incredible day. Subhan Allah it wasn't at all planned but it turned out perfectly.
I can't remember if I've ever mentioned this, but there is a group of around 15 women from Belgium, Sweden and Denmark who are also here for the Dowra. They're staying in a separate house so we don't really have a lot of interaction with them, and some of them were only here for 3 weeks i.e. they're leaving tomorrow.
So we decided to hold a pizza party for them and throw together a program. The program was literally decided upon after zuhr, and mash'Allah the two who organized it did it perfectly, and the program ran as smoothly as if we'd been practicing for days. This was the program:
9:30-9:35: Informal Welcome
9:35-9:40: Nasheed: Ta'la albadro 'alayna
9:40-9:45: Recitation of Qur'anic verses and hadith (Arabic and English)
9:45-9:50: Cheerleader welcome!
9:50-9:55: Pep Talk
9:55-10: Muslim woman [spoken word]
10:30-10:35: Urdu Nasheed
10:35-10:40: I love my Hijab [spoken word]
10:45-10:50: Nasheed: Ila Rasool Allah
10:50-10:55: Closing speech by Ustadha Moneeba
11-11:15: Speeches by women leaving and Hababas.
It's hard to explain why exactly this night was so special—it was just harmonious. It filled me with a sense of 'right-ness,' like this was how entertainment was supposed to be. We were hospitable and smiling and more than that: genuine. We were genuinely happy to be hosting these women and entertaining them. Plus, it didn't feel like a waste of time—it felt like productive entertainment, if that makes sense.
The duff was beautiful, those who sang the nasheeds were beautiful, and so much effort went into the program. Even the Urdu nasheed was translated into English and first read out to us. We were perfectly on time, which surprised me so much being that I'm used to running on AST (Arab Standard Time).
I still can't believe the cheer welcome, which was perfectly choreographed and just amazing (this is a what?! An 'E'. A what?! An 'E' Oh! a 'E!' etc). I got permission from the girls who performed it to upload it, so here it is. Enjoy! :)
One of my housemates who does counseling then gave us a short 5 minute talk on how Muslims in the 'West' think 'Eastern' Muslims are so backward when it wasn't true. I particularly liked how she said that Bedouins keep their fires lit so strangers know that they can come there to eat, drink and sleep (i.e. hospitality).
I then performed Muslim Woman, which is a piece about a ticked off woman mocking the steryotypes people have about Muslim Women. It was kind of nerve-wracking because it was a piece that was performed by four people so I had to quickly learn the lines of three others which I had only semi-learnt in rehearsals. My roommate Choclit (who is a convert that will soon celebrate her one-year anniversary of being a Muslim, so proud of her mash'Allah she's an inspiration!) then performed this incredible piece she had written titled 'I love my hijab.'
I filmed her performing it again, and I got her permission to upload it. Enjoy!
The daughter of one of the hababas who were invited then sang Ila Rasool Allah (All except the Prophet of Allah) for us in a perfect nightingale voice.
Plus of course—we had pizza! I don't think that needs any elaboration. Suffice to say it was the home cooked kind of pizza I usually don't go near at home but gobbled up immediately over here.
There are just no words to express the night. Truly fantastic. And after our guests went home we brought out the duff and sang the Mohamadeya, one of my favorite nasheeds. For some inexplicable reason, I'm walking on the clouds tonight.
Today's Quote: Saying 'I forgot my intention' is not an excuse four you. In fact, by saying it you're admitting that the world has overtaken you. Habib Umar