Tuesday, January 24, 2006


As regards the Yahoo group I don't think I made it clear enough. I am very dizzy so will try to re-type the introduction at some point if/when I get my brain back.

The idea is that we get as many sisters as possible on and for those with no internet access we act as their proxy. Whenever somebody needs something a little red flag can go up, so to speak and we have a way of letting each other know that there is someone who needs help and we make it our business to make sure they get it. A bit like when one of us has sprogged - those who needed it got the cooking/whatever. Except this would work throughout the year at all times for all sisters for whatever reason. It is a network of as many sisters as we can get. I have other ideas to link into this but it would need a network of sisters anyway, so I will try to work on that.

Regarding setting an Islamic HE group up - I don't know if that will ever happen. I'm in too much pain to organise anything myself. If I thought it was a go-er I would try . *shrugs* I need something for my kids.


At 5:29 pm, Blogger sanika said...

salaam , you didn't offend me .I must tell you that the peterborough home-educators group has no such statement in its policies or stated unofficially, as M said before everyone speaks to their own child at any given "workshop" & explains it in ways appropriate to them & their faith.In fact as the group is now looking for charity funding it has just got its new constitution & is deliberately inclusive of all people & states clearly that intolerance /racism/ sexism etc is not tolerated at all.The turnout at the Mosque was amazing & everyone wants to understand Islam.Really nothing to worry about at the group..if it was "dodgy" i wouldn't be going !!.The sisters group is a great idea & jzk to you for getting it started.I for one really need something like that especially when i'm ill / Iona is.The hardest thing in my life is to be struggling alone when ill...with no family no husband & still new to area it is very lonely at times.K,M & H have all helped when i'm ill & i am gratefull , but the Ummah as a whole needs some wrk in this town.I have found it very "closed doors " apart from the Revert sisters & i only met them through the home-ed group!.

At 6:08 pm, Blogger Hannah said...

What exactly do you want Debbie? We all have ideas about things we could change but I don't know anyone who is so seemingly completely depressed and unfulfilled by the community around them. You have to step into the community to be part of it, you have to be a friend to have a friend. Do you mix?

And BTW I talk about Allah to my children everyday, everytime we do something. I do not shut up about it at Muddlepuddle or in front of family or anywhere else for that matter, if you feel like you're being stopped, I have no idea why.

At 6:21 pm, Blogger Qalballah said...

Forgive me if I've offended you Hannah. I obviously have said something terribly wrong. No I don't mix. I don't get out all that much. I used to but things have been difficult lately.

Forget it. I'll delete the group and keep my mouth shut from now on.


At 7:08 pm, Blogger Hannah said...

You haven't offended me but I have had this awful heavy heart since this whole issue was brought up. Such negativity has a far greater negative impact on the ummah.

And I know you can't get out easily now, but what about before? This week several sisters popped in at my house on their way here or there. I have seen 5 of my sisters in the past 5 days.

There is a nice little group of you around your way, all with children similar ages and sexes, I can't understand why you feel you have no community. People are not drawn to such depressing vibes, no one wants to feel low, we're supposed to pick each other up, not bring each other down. The people I mix with on a regular basis are people who make me feel good, not in a nufsi way like they give me loads of compliments or something, but in a positive vibe way.

The group is a good idea in principle, but living breathing human contact, someone bothering to get up and come round rather than just type an email from home has a greater impact.

At 7:45 pm, Blogger Qalballah said...

What's negative? Trying to start a network of sisters up? I don't understand your problem with it. Yes, I see the sisters around here - that's not the issue. I have *friends* and that's one thing, but I was more interested in setting things up for people who have little or no access to anything. Since being ill I have realised the importance of an ummah who will take time out to be a practical help. All I was saying is that I want to do something more proactive in that regards. I want pitch in and really string something together. Not because I am moaning or depressed or fed up - but because I really feel others needs acutely now. I want to help and be of practical assistance!! I don't need anything. That wasn't what the rant was about. The rant was about how I haven't contributed towards the ummah and how ashamed I am about it. I am really ashamed about it. I have been insular and content with insularity. Alhamdulillah it has been knocked out of me. If it was just friends I was after then I wouldn't be saying anything since I do have really great Muslim sisters as neighbours and even if I don't see you lot who live in the posh houses (:P) all that often I still consider you to be really great sisters. In that regards I am truly spoiled and I am glad Allah landed me in Peterborough because you are a nice bunch. And I'm not just saying that I genuinely mean it.

But how ironic that no one wants to be around depressed people - what about the people in our ummah who are clincally depressed - we just tell them to get their act together and leave them to it til they do? It's those very people that a network could really help. I don't know all the sisters in Peterborough and there is no way I can access how to help the people who I could possibly have a positive influence on. I would love to be able to be real practical help - to drop in and lend a hand - but there are a lot of sisters who are unknown to me; some who themselves just don't get out or who are isolated. How can I meet them until I know they are there??

I am not moaning, I am simply waking up out of my selfishness. I am simply talking out loud as to how I can really help the ummah rather than just the people I know (who I would help anyway i.a.).

The idea of a group for Muslim kids I know won't work but I would like to try to start something anyway. I feel our kids miss out on that, I really do. It would be nice to see the little uns make dua together. Boss just wants to run in manic circles anyway; I can't quite explain what I mean when I say I want an Islamic group because I am NOT saying the other groups aren't good enough. They are really well run and the kids are gorgeous. I am not saying that I hate the idea of "mixing with a diverse world" that's just silly - it's just that I would like to see my kids feeling like part of an ummah. Friends they have, it's something else they miss out on... I can't think of the words. Too fuzzy right now.

Anyway, how did the asthma clinic go?

At 8:13 pm, Blogger Hannah said...

Asthma clinic...complete waste of time, saw a 'assessment nurse' for some reason, who only sees you when all is going well *why would I go to the doctors when all is well?!* So gotta wait until next week until I can see the 'proper asthma nurse.

Hamza Yusuf says depression is from Shaytan, we have no understanding of depression in this Deen. It's easy to say that when you have no personal experience of it, I do take a 'snap out of it approach' even with someone very close to me who suffers from it. I can't help someone who won't first help themselves, it's very frustrating. I thought an Ummah started with your friends? I sort of thought my friends are my local ummah.
My dh goes through these phases where he wants to change the world, or peterborough. And then he gets depressed because he can't do it. And I say 'baby steps, baby steps'. You have to build strong foundations if the building is going to be really tall. And I think we're doing that without even realising it. So many times in the past year I have met sisters for the first time who have said 'Oh, I know about you, don't you lot cook for each other when you have a baby, don't you all HE together?' Maybe we need to be more consistent with our locations and meeting times so sisters know where to find us.

I think great things will happen in this community and we're all part of the change. We have to be patient because we all have a lot on our own plates right now, but as our own littlies grow....hold tight Peterborough!
We are all sisters and I love each and every one.

At 4:40 am, Blogger Maryam said...

Assalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I don't know the context of the Hamza Yusuf quote, may Allah grant him abundant blessings for all the good work he does masha'Allah, but I thought it was worth pointing out that Imam al-Ghazali writes of depression in perhaps a different perspective. He describes depression as an illness that Allah, swt, uses to draw us to Him:

"We have a common instance of this referring to second causes what ought to be referred to the First Cause in the case of so-called illness. For instance, if a man ceases to take any interest in worldly matters, conceives a distaste for common pleasures, and appears sunk in depression, the doctor will say, "This is a case of melancholy, and requires such and such a prescription." The physicist will say, "This is a dryness of the brain caused by hot weather and cannot be relieved till the air becomes moist." The astrologer will attribute it to some particular conjunction or opposition of planets. "Thus far their wisdom reaches," says the Koran. It does not occur to them that what has really happened is this: that the Almighty has a concern for the welfare of that man, and has therefore commanded His servants, the planets or the elements, to produce such a condition in him that he may turn away from the world to his Maker. The knowledge of this fact is a lustrous pearl from the ocean of inspirational knowledge, to which all other forms of knowledge are as islands in the sea.

The doctor, physicist, and astrologer are doubtless right each in his particular branch of knowledge, but they do not see that illness is, so to speak, a cord of love by which God draws to Himself the saints concerning whom He has said, "I was sick and ye visited Me not." Illness itself is one of those forms of experience by which man arrives at the knowledge of God, as He says by the mouth of His Prophet, "Sicknesses themselves are My servants, and are attached to My chosen."" (The Alchemy of Happiness translation: http://muslim-canada.org/sufi/ghach2.html)

The reason why I say this, is because I've suffered from clinical depression for quite a number of years now, although in my case I have been immensely helped by medication. Some people do well with counselling, others with medication, others with a combination. Seeking competant medical advice, particularly from a Muslim physician who understands that 'religion' is not neurotic, is very important. A lot of the time depression is a real physical illness that its suffers can no more 'snap out of' any more than a diabetic can snap out of his insulin deficiency. That's not to say depression is never a spiritual illness alone, but sometimes Allah, swt, uses biochemistry to knock at the door so-to-speak.

Ummm thought I'd post that for anyone reading the comments who may be suffering depression and then despair that it is all just from the Shaytan, audhu billah.

At 8:51 am, Blogger Qalballah said...


That is a really good post. I may need to talk to you more in private about that ;-) I need to re-read that again. I love Ghazali. Allah grant him jannah. Amin. Chemical imbalances are there and to say we have no knowledge of it in the deen is simply not true.

Regarding the ummah - yes I do get into a lot of trouble when I voice my opinions but that is because I never seem to articulate myself very well.

The basis of ummah is friendship - if that was all this were about then I would have no need to complain. I have good friends masha'allah. And I don't want to change Peterborough overnight. I know the baby sets are what is needed, which is what the idea of the group was.

I have literally had sisters I hardly know (like met once but can't remember where), I don't even know their name but they seem to know mine, stop me in the street and tell me ALL their problems - really open their hearts out - desperate to meet other sisters not really knowing how or where or knowing anything of what was going on in P'b. Talking to these sisters it transpires they have a large family - lots of brothers and close sisters yet they are still lonely, still need help and advice and still need to know the basics of Islam (fervently asking me if how they make wudu is OK - it wasn't and they are too embarrassed to ask anyone else), they still need outside assurance. These are people I have bumped into - what about the ones I just don't meet? What about the ones who don't speak English? What about the ones who can't leave their house/are hospitalised/are slowly dying. What about them? It really hurts me to think how self-centred I have been - "i'm alright Jack", or console myself with glib assurances that people "will be OK and that 'someone' will help". Talk about passing the responsibility onto others. What happens if they are NOT Ok? What happens if they are suffering and could use some help?

I just feel it accutely now. The times I feel quite low are the times I feel quite useless and frustrated at not being able to help people.

Having the group was just meant to be a foundation - a meeting place even if we have no real meeting place. Even if not all the sisters in P'b are on the group if enough are and can speak for those they know then perhaps when there is someone in trouble things can be done consistently and by everybody.

At 9:59 pm, Blogger *~H~* said...

I think Debbie wants the yahoo group to be something like the shadhili suhba group (for those of you on it). Khidma is the idea, no?

At 10:40 am, Blogger Maryam said...


Yeah al-Ghazali is one of my all-time favourite scholars (not sure if it's appropriate to have 'favourites' but there I've said it).

I also like the idea of (I think it was) Steven Covey who said that people have a circle of concern and a circle of influence. If we spend all our time in the circle of concern (eg. worry) then our circle of influence will diminish. If we spend our time in the circle of influence (what we can change) then our circle of concern (worry) diminishes. At least that's what I *think* he said.

It sounds maybe that Allah has 'put a burden on your heart' (to use the Christian phrase) to help sisters in your area which sounds like a fantastic circle of influence to get started in. Even if you help one person, masha'Allah, you will never know how important that help has been and what affect it might have on the Yawm.

Umm Yasmin


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