Now, the final of the winning 6 stories (don't worry, we'll be putting up some of the others in the future, insha'Allah)…  Congratulations to sister Shirien Elamawy (of EgyptianGumbo.com), for her submission. Although it may seem a little outdated (the hurricane is over after all, alHamdulillaah, keep in mind that certain things never get older – certainly not reminders of Allah's blessings upon His Slaves.

Very, the reminder benefits the believer, so O believers, take benefit from this inspiring story!

As a runner-up, sister Shirien wins a free single adult's registration to this year's Texas Da'wah Convention!

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Giant Bubble Appears in Louisiana – Amazing!! By Shirien Elamawygiantbubble.jpg

You're probably reading this wondering why someone would write a whole article about a giant bubble. “Surely I have better things to do with my time than read about a bubble,” you say to yourself. Well, while a bubble did appear in Louisiana — It's wasn't exactly made of soap.If I had titled this article, “Ramadan reflections from Hurricane Gustav” you wouldn't have been very interested and instead would have probably already made your way to YouTube to watch videos of skateboarding dogs. The bubble I'm referring to is both a blessing and a hardship from Allah. Having no electricity could have been one of the best blessings Allah had given the Muslims here in Louisiana, but was also a huge test.

Last week, starting exactly with the first day of Ramadan, 1.4 million people were without power, and many still are. In the beginning of this whole ordeal, I knew this was a test from Allah. “I'm going to sooo pass this test, insha'Allah,” I told myself. And as the first two days went by, I smiled, unaware of what it would be like for the rest of the week.Now, I don't know how many of you know what it's like to go without electricity for that long, but let me set the scene for you:

  1. No light
  2. No air conditioning in hot/humid weather
  3. Everything in the refrigerator has about 2-3 days before it's thrown out
  4. Most, if not all the stores are not open, including grocery stores
  5. Few gas stations were open and running on generators which caused people to wait in a half mile long line to fill their tanks
  6. There were no cell phone signals for a few days
  7. No internet
  8. No TV to watch the news and know what's going on in the outside world
  9. No cooking anything but barbeque

Now, so far I've listed things that all seem negative in their nature. And although they are definite hardships, wallahi there is another side that very few people tend see or talk about in this situation.

This is the reality of what Ramadan is like for Muslims living in Louisiana so far:

First, we have plenty of time to read Qur'an. No one has work or school due to the downed trees all over the city and the lack of electricity. The avenues that were use to distract us from the worship of Allah have now been taken away from us. We can no longer spend hours on the computer, talking on the phone or watching TV.

Muslims and even non-Muslims are starting to appreciate the blessings of Allah so much more. Allah 'azza wa jal says in surat Ibrahim “Wa in ta3ddu na3mit Allahi la tuhsuha, innal insaana la thalummun kaffar.”There was never a time I loved electricity and yearned for it like I did in those days. I loved it more than a fat kid loved his cake — and even more, walhamdulillah. And I, like a lot of you, was waiting for the iman bubble of going to the masjid everyday for taraweeh to help my iman rise from the low that it was in. I was just waiting for something new to happen so that I can start anew. But Allah 'az wa jal had something else written. Taraweeh was done in our homes. One of our masajid had been damaged by the storm. Both of our main masajid did not have electricity. Therefore, I was told brothers were praying in the dark, and the sisters were asked not to come. I still, to this day, have not gone to one iftaar or one taraweeh prayer in the masjid this Ramadan. Wallahul musta'an.

I could be telling you this to babble, but since I've gotten my electricity back, alhamdulillah after a week, I decided to try to continue using my time for the worship of Allah. I kind of actually miss how it was. Every day that passes the more I get distracted with my school work among other things. So what's my point?

You've waited for Ramadan to become a better Muslim and to raise your iman.  But what if may Allah forbid, Allah sent a “Gustav” to you? And remember, you don't have the internet to listen to your lectures; all you have is to read Qur'an by candle light in the middle of the night. You shouldn't depend on anything other than yourself and Allah to become a better Muslim. Acknowledge tests as they come to you, and be determined to pass them no matter what Allah puts in your path to test your truthfulness and iman.

When Muslim Matters put up their “Ramadan Story Contest” I really didn't think to submit anything, and for the record this isn't for the contest. But as I was going through the tests Allah has put in our path, I knew I had a story — but didn't know how to tell it. I mean, let's face it — many people don't care what happens in another part of the world so long as they are not directly affected. Allah gave us here in Louisiana a chance to remember what our brothers and sisters in Iraq and other parts of the world are going through. While non-muslims complained about not having electricity, we shed tears remembering our brothers and sisters we've forgotten.

This is your chance not to forget.

I'd like to request that you help the relief process here in Louisiana by donating through ICNA relief. Many people already knows that I work in public relations, but subhanAllah, I neither work with ICNA relief nor do they know of me writing this article. I know personally many of those who work with ICNA relief here in Louisiana, some of them are even in the photos ICNA put on their website. They were in the front lines during hurricane Katrina, and I can testify to the amazing job they did and are still doing. And now, subhanAllah they are asking for more donations.Barak Allahu feekom.

Any may Allah shower you all with his blessings and mercy, ameen.

5 Responses

  1. AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    MashaAllah. And one of the best parts of the article for me was the unqualified support for a Muslim group which does not know the details of the impact it made on your life. May Allah make them so happy on the Day of Judgment that they want to blow bubbles… :)

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  2. Azra

    I commend you, Sister Shirien, for putting a positive face on a not-so-happy situation. It takes a strong mind to do that.

    I realized myself over the years that everything “bad” that happens to you will come to pass. What you should ask yourself is not “Why did this happen to me?” but instead, “What am I doing from now until that point when it’s over?” It’s a time for productivity, or more specifically, as you mentioned, a time to increase our iman.

    May Allah SWT reward you and your community for the patience you’ve shown through such a difficult time.
    “Peace be upon you for that which you persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final home (Jannah)!” (13:24)

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  3. Osman

    the formatting of this makes it extremely hard to read. Paragraphs would greatly help.

    -Fixed. Sorry for getting it wrong the first time. -Editor

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  4. Some random person

    wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooomuch to read…………………..wow wow

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