Animals in Islam

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.(Quran 6:38)


If I am good enough to marry a Muslim man, and raise Muslim children then I am good enough to sit a modest distance behind those same men and obtain the same information, in the same fashion as they do.

Islam FAQ

Coming Soon!

I Love Pigs

Allah created pigs, he created them from the same dust and breathe as he created you and I. Try telling that to these hardline wack jobs and they nearly pass out at the thought! I also love telling them that pig flesh is the closest thing to human flesh on this planet and that you can take a pigs heart and put it in a human being and it will work just as well. At that point they are usually gasping for air, muttering a long line of curses and protective proverbs to keep my pig worship from affecting them.

This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" ~The new Colossus by Emma Lazarus~

Monday, October 20, 2014

Solidarity Is For White Women

Wear a scarf on your head for a day and suddenly you become the voice of Muslim women everywhere! 

How about just don't judge, period.
This has gotten out of control. This is cultural/religious appropriation and it is disgusting. I am sure their intentions are good but you do NOT need to dress up like someone and turn their religion into a costume in order to feel empathy for your fellow human being. You should be perfectly capable of standing up for and showing solidarity for Muslim women without having to dress up like one. And what of the Muslim women who do not wear hijab? Where is their solidarity? Hijab is an act of worship. It is a deed commanded by Allah most high. It is not a game, not a costume, not exotic, not dress up, not sexy. 

So we now have this sick trend of white women wearing scarves on their head for a selfie and somehow that is supposed to expose them to something? That is supposed to make me feel better? Protected? It certainly does not. For centuries White peoples have exoticized Muslim dress, made it mysterious, sexual, and exotic. This is a continuation of that. It fetishizes Muslim women. Hijab is not just a scarf wrapped around your head, it is an intention to obey the creator of your soul, it is an entire 7 point dress code, and it is an act of worship, of sanctity. Does some woman wearing a hijab for a day or just to pose for a photo make her aware of what it is like to struggle with modesty in today’s world ... no ... because she has the PRIVILEGE of removing it with no guilt, no shame no sin... she has no idea what it is like to wear it every single day of our lives, and there is no way to have that experience unless she became Muslim and did it. 

I feel solidarity with black struggle in America but to do so I do not need to paint my face black and walk around or post a selfie while in black face. I feel solidarity with the struggle of Native Americans but I do not need to dress up like a Lakota lady to feel it. To do so would be wrong, to do so would be cultural/religious appropriation, to do so would be insulting and misguided and so is this "hijabi solidarity". Another point is this: over the past couple years of this trend developing I have witnessed SO MANY Muslims praising these women as if they are saints, and Muslim men go out of their way with the 'wowowowow mashallah' comments ... where is this support and praise and encouragement for actual Muslim women who actually do struggle to wear hijab? When it comes to reality most Muslim men refuse to marry a woman wearing hijab ... but a white woman playing dress up in one? Oh that is hot, sexy, exotic, intriguing. Muslim men are all for sexualized hijab just as long as it is not an actual Muslim woman in hijab. Apparently the men in this ummah of ours are too weak to handle real hijab. 

And where in all of this is the voice of REAL MUSLIM WOMEN? Where is our narrative, our experience? Where is our voice? It is nowhere. No one is asking us "hey sister friend what is your life like? What is your experience?”... No one. Oh but these women in costume offer up their narrative and suddenly they are the voice of Muslim women everywhere. I understand that these women have good intentions and they are trying to show solidarity but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions do not mean the resulting action is good or helpful. Stop supporting this, start supporting the Muslim women out here doing our thing and living life ... we are here, we exist, we have a voice and we need you...

Third Culture Kid

My name in Hieroglyphics

Where are you from? What are you? 

These questions make me sweat. They make me nervous. Not because of uncertainty or shame but because of the length of time it takes to properly answer and the amount of personal information I have to give to a total stranger asking a perfectly innocent question. 

My biological mother is Greek. My father is Egyptian (his mother) and Palestinian (his father) and he was born and grew up in Palestine and moved to the states then to Egypt as an adult. I was born in Brooklyn, New York. I was nursed by a Jamaican lady that became my god mother. My parents divorced and my father moved back home and from there my mother and I moved to Wichita, Kansas where I had a Gypsy nanny from Hungary. My mother had been adopted as a teenager by a lovely American couple though she always remained in contact with her biological family. I am very fuzzy on the details. They lived on a legit farm in the Ozarks in Missouri. I spent my early childhood summers and holiday breaks on that farm. I milked cows, nursed baby pigs, had a pet pig, rode a llama daily, slept with the sheep, made butter and swam in a creek every day. It was a wonderful experience and some of the best memories I have. It was ridiculously Norman Rockwell American. It was not Brooklyn. It was not Africa. But, it too was home. My mother suffered from severe mental illness. I was the adult in her life, at the age of 5. I raised my sister. I took care of my mother. She changed our names and told me my father had died. She did everything in her power to demonize him and make me not only forget my Arabness and my Islam but to hate it. I was not allowed to speak of him, to speak my old name, to speak Arabic or to identify in any way with myself. My mother remarried a man from Guatemala and immediately had my sister. My mother was unfit to say the least and we were taken from her a few years later and entered the foster care system. My sister, being younger, was adopted immediately by a huge Irish Catholic family that lived in a small farm town in the middle of Kansas. I endured many foster homes and several stints at the local orphanage. I was eventually adopted by a wonderful single lady that is my mom, she is my hero. Her background is German and Native American on my mother’s side and Irish on my father’s side. Her grandfather was born on the boat from Ireland. I did everything I could to blend into this story. I was 11 years old and wanted a family, a story that made sense, a short story, and an identity. I was able to “pass” and straighten my African curls into submission and become something very different from who I was, but it felt good. During the process of adoption they had to determine both parents unfit. They quickly learned that my sister’s father was not my father. I kept saying ‘my dad lives by the pyramids, and he is from where Jesus is from’ and I was ignored. “Ok sweetheart, sure he is”. I even had one social worker tell me that I had to stop telling these ridiculous stories, and that no one lives by the pyramids. Today I find that hilarious because millions upon millions of people live by the pyramids! She was clearly not a global citizen but this was the 80s and there was no internet so I forgive her for her ignorance. #Tahrir has not happened yet! 

Eventually someone believed me. I had a knack for memorizing phone numbers as a kid. I have no idea why. I was obsessed with calling relatives on pay phones. It was probably a cry for help. I told them my dad’s phone number. I did not know that by this time my father had moved to Egypt with his new wife and kids. He did search for us but had no idea our names had changed. His time as a student was up and he returned home. The phone number we dialed was to my grandparent’s home in Jerusalem. My grandfather and father have the same name. The moment I heard his voice I knew. I remembered. I cried from my guts. I was baptized in the sounds of his accent and it all flooded back to me in one word: Amoonti. My nickname. Family. Belonging. Identity. Truth. Real. I got in contact with my father in Egypt. There was a lot of hate, anger, confusion on my part. His side of the story was different than mine because we experienced it differently. I refused to visit him, I refused to go there. I wanted nothing to do with Africa. My biological mother had done a great job at making that place the most terrifying place on earth. My father knew he could not force the situation. He knew if he forced me to come there and stay with him he would lose me. I was not capable of such change at that time. So I was adopted by this wonderful woman and remained in contact with my father. 

I eventually decided to go visit him in Egypt. I was scared, uncertain and alone. My father the Arab was late picking me up from the airport. I sat in Cairo International Airport all alone for an hour. That moment I first saw my father is something I will never forget. Even now it moves me to tears. The hate, the anger, the confusion drifted away. This was baba. This was home. This was truth. His voice, his embrace, his soul was the home I had been missing. He had remarried and had new kids. There was sibling rivalry. I was the American. Baba and I had a history they did not have. They had a history we did not have. I spent summers with him in Egypt, with my grandparents in Palestine. My father worked as a doctor in South Africa half the year so I also spent huge portions of my childhood in Cape Town. My father helped drive villagers into the cities so they could vote for Madiba.

My Arabic was and still is horrible. I was conditioned to never speak Arabic. To this day I have a serious problem speaking Arabic in front of people that I do not know very well. I speak it fine, but I feel I don’t. I have forgotten much of the vocabulary. I was much better at it as a teenager when I needed it more often. This has been a barrier for me my whole life. Thankfully everyone in my family spoke very good English. I had a unique situation. I was not only trying to fit in with the locals but with my own family. Most TCK’s at least have their parents and siblings that they can identify with and when you are in your home you have them and you are the same. I was a foreigner everywhere. My siblings made fun of my accent when I spoke Arabic in the way that siblings do. They had no idea the damage they were doing. They had no idea that my mother had sent me to speech therapy to erase the sound of Arabic from my tongue. They had no idea that I had been conditioned to make those sounds. 

My father was loving and patient. We grew extremely close until I lost him 2005. When he passed away I went through a serious identity crisis. By the time he passed away so had my grandparents, my brother with whom I was very close, my 2 uncles and most of my family. This is a typical story for Palestinians. My grandparent’s home in Jerusalem was demolished by Israeli (American) bulldozers. My dad’s wife had sold the family home in Egypt and moved to her brother’s home in Germany and I lost contact with them. She had always hated living in Egypt. (She is Palestinian) So I had no home. I had no protector. I had no one. Suddenly going to Egypt and staying at a hotel or a friend’s home made the trip unbearable so I stopped going. I got married in a rush to a person I should never have married. I wanted an identity. I was struggling. I had graduated college and never used my degree. I allowed my husband to dictate our life. I stayed home. I mourned. I mourned my losses. I stayed in one place for some years. This had never happened before. I have never been in one place longer than a few years. 

As a teenager my mom and I (adopted) moved to Houston, Texas. I moved to Louisiana, New York and back to Houston for college and various other reasons. I was always on the go. I traveled extensively. My father made sure of that. If I called him and asked for rent money the answer was no but if I called and asked him for airfare to Zanzibar the answer was yes. He wanted to make sure his kids could fit in anyway, that we had an understanding of the world. This was in part because he was a refugee and he knew that we would never be able to live in Palestine so we had to fit in and have options. He wanted us to have experiences and stories and stamps in our passports. When in my mid teens he took me and my brother on a journey through Africa. We stayed at fancy resorts and in camps with locals. We traveled to Kenya where my uncle lived, Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zanzibar, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe where he worked for a short time, Namibia, summers at a time share in Greece, and vacations to Lebanon and Jordan where we also had family. I spent a large part of my childhood and teenage years in Africa and absolutely love it. The diversity of Africa is mind blowing!! 

In college I studied Anthropology with a focus on Middle East and Africa. I have always been interested in this but I think it was partly due to me trying to find and justify who I am. I am African. I am Egyptian. I am Palestinian. I am Arab. Sadly my Greek side is unknown to me. My biological mother’s parents disowned her when she married my father and had his child. Her own Greek culture was a source of sadness for her and is now a source of sadness for me. I do not identify as Greek. I acknowledge that half of me is indeed Greek and I never leave it out of my story but it is a blip, nothing more. This makes me very sad. I do not speak the language aside from a few very basic conversational words. We spent many summers on vacation in Greece and I know my father did this to expose me to that part of myself, but I never felt I belonged there. My grandparent’s rejection became my experience with Greek culture, sadly. It peeks through in weird ways though. My pet birds all have very Greek names. I studied Greek mythology extensively. I feel pride when someone famous or important is Greek. I get excited when I meet a Greek person. If I could live anywhere in the world and money was no object it would be Greece, but I have no identification with being Greek. 

I have very light skin and brown hair. Upon first glance I look like a white girl with kinky hair. As a teenager I spent summers being African and Arab and the school year being a white American. I took German and told people I was Irish/German like my adopted family. I remember doing a family history report in high school and focusing only on being Irish and German and the teacher failed me. I worked hard on that project. The teacher said “I know you worked hard and you did a great job but this is not YOU, this is who you live with. I want to know about YOU”. I redid the project and included my real self and it was the first time I had admitted out loud to being who I really was. I did not straighten my hair that day and gave my report to the class. It was basically like coming out to the world. “I have something to tell you and I hope you love me anyway: I am Arab. I am African. I am not who I pretend to be.” I quickly became the exotic girl. Everyone had questions; everyone wanted to be my friend. I quickly became very aware of white Americans obsession with the exotic. Queue Suheir Hammad’s Not Your Exotic. I embraced my curls and my true identity. 

It was around this time and this age when as most kids I started to form my opinions on the world, politics, religion and gain my own set of ethics. My adopted mom was very Christian. I went to Christian school and church several times a week. I was in Bible quiz…which is this competition where you have a book of the Bible each season and you memorize it and study it and you compete in an academic bowl type competition with other churches and I was the super star. I have most of the Bible committed to memory, more than the Quran actually. I was kicked out of Sunday school once for asking questions that were adverse to Christian beliefs. I was not trying to be a rebel, I had legit questions. Christianity never clicked with me. It never made sense. It was full of great stories. I had fun at church. I enjoyed my friends and the activities and church camp, but the theology never sat right with me. Summers in Muslim lands and with my Muslim family felt right. Islam made sense. Islam clicked. Islam was logical. My family never once pressured me to be one or the other though they were certainly Muslim. When I spent summers in Jerusalem I went to church when my family when to the mosque. In my late teens I stopped going to church with my mother. She did not like this but she accepted it. My mom has always been very open. She never forced me one way or the other on anything. She also never made her own opinions clear. To this day I have no idea if my mom is a democrat or a republican. She could be either but she won’t tell me. She has always been this way. She wants me to form my own opinions and ethics based on my own experiences not on what my parents or other authority figures say and do. I adore her for this. I have always been Muslim. I was born Muslim and while for a time it was forbidden to me it was always there. I embraced this and brought it out of hiding in my late teens. My religion was always unclear to those around me. I could have been anything, I never made an announcement. 

In Cairo one summer day my family all went to the mosque for Friday prayers. I never went along. I never felt I belonged there though inside my beliefs were the same. This day was different. I wanted to go. I needed to go. I told my aunt and after everyone left she circled back and got me. I put on a scarf and off we went. I was not specifically trying to hide it but I did not want a big production. I did not want to feel like a new Muslim because I was not a new Muslim. During this trip to the mosque my father spotted his sister, approached her to ask her something and of course saw me as well. He was shocked. I told him I was still confused and knew Islam was the truth but something was holding me back. I knew I was not Christian, I knew I was nothing else. I knew I was Muslim but I was not ready to embrace what that meant. Then a couple years went by and I studied more and more for my classes but also for myself. 

Then 9/11 happened. Suddenly I was Muslim. Suddenly I was very aware of what I was. Suddenly I embraced it not only because I could no longer remain on the fence but because other people noticed it now. I could no longer hide it, it no longer blended in. It mattered. My beliefs were no longer personal and private. Suddenly my story went from being unimportant and weird to being valuable and very important. I had existed happily on both sides of this east and west fence. I was a blend of both. I love both. I am both. I could explain one side to the other with ease. I had been raised by a hippie, Sufi, activist, radical father. I was raised to be an activist, a feminist. I was raised and taught that this was Islam, it was normal. Suddenly My America was not peaceful. My America was at war. War was not just a summer time activity or a history lesson. It was life on both sides of my fence. Worlds were colliding. I was torn in ways I had never been torn before. As a Palestinian I was always aware of American involvement in Middle East politics and I knew it was American weapons aimed at my family in refugee camps. But it was Israeli’s dropping bombs. Now suddenly it was America dropping bombs. I was the enemy in America. I was the enemy in the Middle East. I hated and raged against American foreign policy while cherishing the American right to do so. I was not confused about where I stood but it was confusing. 
My life had been a constant set of conflicts. I was used to that. Being Egyptian and Palestinian was not easy. But being American and Muslim/Arab was much harder. I faced outright racism for the first time in my life. Suddenly I could no longer pass. Stranger saw in me what I tried so desperately to hide for so long. My African curls gave me away. My ever changing accent gave me away. I felt so raw and so exposed. Living in NYC at the time was no comfort. The city I loved was the one place I did not want to be, it was too much. I remember walking into a bodega and the owner throwing eggs at me as he forced me out of his store shouting racist obscenities. This was America. This was New York City. This did not happen here. This was a definitive shift. In African countries I never had a problem being African. The people embraced me and insisted that I was African. To say I was anything else would have been an insult. They accepted me for the most part. My light skin tone meant nothing to them. I was theirs. In North Africa and the Middle East my skin tone was important. My Egyptian grandmother used to tell me I had the skin of the royals and that finding a husband would be east because of it. I hated this. I felt the effects of colonization from a very early age. I hated that, as many friends teased, I had the skin of the colonizers. Meaning my family was somehow colonizers. My family history in Palestine predates the crusades. Skin tone be damned I belong here. 

In college for one of my classes we all did a DNA human genome analysis. I was beyond excited and terrified. This would either validate or invalidate my entire life. The results came back. My African American friend and I opened ours together and I was as thrilled as she was devastated to see that’s she had more European DNA that I did. This of course makes sense for her but it was a shock to me. I of course have markers in Greece and Turkey but that is as far as my European genetics go. I am not a colonizer! Well, maybe an ancient one since Greece did rule over the Middle East for some time. I had connections in North Africa, the Middle East and some in Asia. This made sense. I made sense. I was a result of world history, geography, and the historical migration of humanity showed in my blood. This validated so much for me. Skin tone is only one part of who people are and it depends entirely on genetics. 

My biological mother is Greek but she has very light skin, very blonde hair and very blue eyes. This is not uncommon in Greece. My father has brown hair, hazel eyes and light skin. Standing next to my biological mother it is clear I am not like her. It is clear I must be mixed with something. Arab is not an ethnic term. It is a linguistic grouping. It covers all of North Africa, much of western Africa, all of the Middle East and some of Asia. Obviously there are many ethnic groups in that region. If you are from a place that speaks Arabic you are Arab. The Arab on TV in America is the dark skinned, black haired, bushy eye browed Bedouin. My skin tone is not at all uncommon in Palestine and it makes sense. Palestine is a mix of various Mediterranean cultures. Armenians are common there, as are Greeks, Italians, Turks, Spanish and the Arab and African influences along with strong European and even Russian Christian influence, especially in Jerusalem. I am the spice route. I am the silk trade. When, as an adult, I studied anthropology, human migration patterns, history, wars, I learned why and how I am who I am. So I may never have used my degree in anthropology professionally but it was more valuable to me personally than anything ever has been. 

In college I always hung out with the international students. I was not an international student. I was American but my story and my life made more sense with the international students. I went ‘back home’ for summers and holiday breaks just like they did. I never fit in as a TCK in the aspect of being a diplomat’s kid, a missionary kid or corporate kid or even as an expat but I certainly identify as one. When I found other American kids in Egypt or South Africa it was like finding diamonds! Like ‘OMG you totally understand why I am upset they canceled the Cosby Show’. As a Palestinian it was normal that I am from somewhere else, most of us are due to the Diaspora. 

I have lived in Florida for 8 years now. This is the longest I have ever lived anywhere. I have not traveled overseas since 2007 and that is so weird. I find myself craving difference. I need to go. I have wanderlust. I drool over tumblr’s over foreign places. My mom and I went on family vacation through New Mexico and to the Grand Canyon last year and I was beside myself with joy to be able to experience something different. I grow tired of America. Not out of hatred but out of boredom and probably because I live in a place that is not at all diverse. Traveling overseas makes you appreciate America on a whole other level. I also find myself growing complacent. The radical side of me is growing lazy. I can easily turn off my twitter feed. I can easily turn off the news. I can easily avoid the suffering, the oppression, and the injustices of the world. When you are traveling to or staying in those places it is hard to turn it off or ignore it because you are in it and your humanity screams as a witness to it whether you like it or not. I am at a stage of rediscovery. I faced trauma and loss and sheltered myself away. My reaction to those tragedies was to seek shelter, hide, and remain stationary. I am coming through the other side and miss the world. I miss my tribes …I miss my people…. I miss my cultures. I am surrounded by people who have never left the city they live in and probably never will. When I say “oh one time when I was in Tanzania…..” they roll their eyes and are utterly disinterested. I long for familiarity but not sameness. Familiar to me is difference, change, the unknown, if that makes sense.

So where am I from? What am I? I am a Greek, Egyptian, Palestinian, South African Muslim woman who was raised by a Jamaican and a Gypsy nanny, a Guatemalan step father, and an Irish, German, Native American adopted mother, and who lived in New York City, New Orleans, Houston, Miami, Jacksonville, Brooklyn, Cape Town, Cairo, Jerusalem, Kansas, and the backwoods and mountains of Missouri. 

You know … normal.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 3 - Cats (30 Day Ramadan Gratitude Challenge)

Cats. Felis catus. 

I have no human children. I do, however, have furry children. I have 3 to be exact: Bella, Nephtet & Bilkis Queen Sheba, Sheba for short. I love these cats from my soul. They are a part of me. Life without them would be empty, lonely and boring. People love to say that cats are aloof and cold, but that cannot be further from the truth! My cats are affectionate, loving, needy, playful, intelligent and unique. The 3 of them are very different. 

Bella went through horrible abuse early in her life and it shaped how she takes on the world. She can be skittish, fearful and chooses to retreat in the face of anything she does not understand. I deal with her accordingly. Bella does not do anything except sit in the window and sleep. This is the life she wants. She has no interest in playing with toys. Once in a while she finds me and meows at me for some petting or she finds a lizard and chasing it becomes her life’s work. Sadly she always brings the dead lizards head to me.  Bella likes to sit on the bottom shelf in the kitchen and watch me cook or clean. This is the extent of our interaction. I am OK with that because she is safe, clean, fed, and happy and that means the world to me. Those brief moments when she seeks me out for some love are few and far between but they are a treasure and often bring tears to my eyes. There is no greater honor. 

Nephtet AKA Nephi (neffie) is a princess. She is spoiled. She is a baby. This is my fault. I adopted her and her brother, Amun Ra (Muni), together. Muni was sick and I had to let him go when he was about 8 months old. That was a sad, dark time for me and Nephi. She searched for him for days. I was hurting for my own loss but also for hers. She would sit awake all night long and just howl. I would take her under the covers with me and we would comfort each other with snuggles. Animals do know love. They bond with each other. They long for each other.  Nephi has no concept of evil or any idea that bad things can happen. She floats through life on a cloud of happiness and optimism. Her only source of agony is that I have to leave the house to go to work. Nephi is dainty, small and has the smallest little paws. She is so easy going. I can literally shove my fingers down her throat, get a fecal sample, take her blood, clean her teeth or ears and she just lays there. When she sees or hears the ear flush she gets excited. She loves ear cleanings. Nephi gives amazing hugs. When I pick her up she pushes herself against me and purrs so hard and head butts me then licks my nose. Sometimes I pick her up and we just hug like this for a few minutes. I have never been hugged so deeply in my entire life. 

Sheba is a dominant beauty queen. Sheba is arrogant and full of herself; she is beautiful and she knows it. She loves to stand up tall and arch her back up and forward and put her nose in the air in a “look how fabulous I am” kind of pose. Sheba has impeccable manners. Since she was a tiny kitten she just had manners. When she wants attention she comes to me, sits down, taps me with her paw and waits. If I do not answer her she eventually just walks away. If I do answer her she jumps up on my lap. She never jumps in the middle of what I am doing. Sheba has her own pillow and sleeps right next to my face. I often wake up lying on her chubby fluffy butt. We get all tangled up when we sleep. I love that. She follows me around and does not leave my side. If I call her name she comes running even if she was sound asleep. 

I have the honor of an animal choosing to love me. Just because they are in my home does not mean they have to love me, they will get fed anyway. The fact that I can sit down and within seconds have 2 sometimes 3 cats automatically wander over and curl up on or next to me is mind blowing. Stop and think about that for a moment …. Another species is attached to you, loves you, misses you, and depends on you. 

There was one time that I was deep cleaning my bed room and had taken my bed apart to move it out and clean the floors. In the process I feel spectacularly and loudly. I landed on my wrist and for a second thought I broke it. I cried out. I panicked. Sheba came running. Sheba howled like a banshee. Sheba ran from me to windows to the front door and back to me. Sheba nudged me and howled and howled and howled. She was legit worried. She was desperately trying to get me help. I picked myself up and grabbed her and held her and cried. I have never had any living thing show that much concern for me in my entire life! Her mama was down and she was going to get me help!  That is loyalty!

When I was sick with a kidney stone and writhing in pain all 3 cats came and lay on top of my stomach, purring as hard as they could. They knew something was wrong and they knew the vibrations from their purrs would comfort me … and it did. 

Cats are also hilarious. That is just a fact. Click here to see a few reason why. 

Allah as blessed us with companions in this life. The prophet himself has many pets. He mourned for 3 days when his camel died. He had a Turkish Angora cat (like Sheba) named Muezza that he adored.  One day when Muezza was asleep on his robe he had to get up and he cut the robe around where the cat was asleep so as to not awaken and disturb the cat. I love my cats but if they are on me and I need to get up I often just move them and I remember this every single time and I feel so bad! They deserve better! 

Allah has said that whomever we love for his sake we will be with in heaven. The Quran also tells us in 6:38 that animals have souls and will be gathered to him on the last day.  We also know that any act of kindness or evil done to an animal is the exact same as doing it to a human being, there is absolutely no distinctions between the two. Animals will testify for or against us on judgment day according to how we treated them. I just hope that the animals I come into contact with have only great things to say about me. I do my very best to treat them how I would want to be treated. 

 I am proud to be part of a long history of cat lovers. One of the greatest companions of Prophet Muhammad was Abu Hurayrah, a nickname which means 'father of kittens'. Abu Hurayrah was the first feral cat caregiver! He was given the name because he was known to always have a kitten in my hands caring for it. He fed and cared for many cats that thrived around the mosque. It is very common overseas to walk into a mosque and see cats lounging in the mosque. That is a practice is sadly forsaken in most American mosques. Islam even pioneered the anti breeder movement! Islam forbids the buying or selling of cats. They should be given and accepted but not a business option. Why? Because when you make a living being with a soul into a business it is forbidden. All living things have value.

Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said, ‘A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger.’ Allah’s Apostle (SAW) further said ‘(Allah knows better) Allah said (to the woman), you neither fed it nor watered when you locked it up, nor did you set it free to eat the insects of the earth.’ –Buhari, Volume 3, Book 40, Number 553.

Prophet (SAW) prayed the eclipse prayer, and then said, ‘Hell was displayed so close that I said: O my Lord! Am I going to be one of its inhabitants?’ Suddenly he saw a woman. I think he said, who was being scratched by a cat. He said, ‘What is wrong with her?’ He was told, ‘She had imprisoned the cat till it died of hunger.’ – Buhari, Volume 3, Book 40, Number 552