The Meaning of Love

I’m so unimpressed with people who appropriate claiming they “love the culture”—do you think I’m not in love with dreamcatchers and afros? I manage to control myself, because there is this thing, that comes with love, called respect. And it involves appreciating that attributes and artifacts you “love” have a history, a deep meaningfulness for the people they represent, a fragility acquired through centuries of oppression.

Wallahi. It is sacred (haraam) for you.

Moon Visitors

I have not made any serious attempts to visit the moon, yet somehow yesterday when I encountered an ad that started, “You may never visit the moon, but…” I was like HOW DARE YOU.

In all seriousness, the very gentle and kind friends I have are enough to send me into space. I noticed a long time ago, that although this week I’ve spoken of an anxiety of losing control or self-determination, that’s not my real issue. I don’t feel this way with friends or situations I trust. I love letting go when I have faith in these.

Sometimes when we’re drained we consider rearranging our priorities. I’ve always thought this was the wrong question. Fortunately, I’ve never had the thought that I needed to put myself first, because when I begin to feel this way it’s a signal that I am not surrounded by those who bring out the best in me or who do the best for me. Too many believe they have issues relinquishing control when it is not a control issue: it’s a trust issue. They don’t trust that they will be taken care of just as they have cared for others. And that’s because they wouldn’t be. (And that’s when it’s time to walk away.) The people surrounding us should ease the harsh lines in our personalities, not exacerbate them. My faith is an integral part of myself, and I refuse to place myself with those who compromise who I am as a person.

I thank my friends for understanding me, not because they know me, but because I make sense to them. Aside from valentine’s I know the parts of my life I celebrate are unusual: I’ve never celebrated my own graduation or really my own birthdays, but I’ve celebrated having finished writing a novel, having walked away from a job that paid too little, having kept my roses alive for three weeks because this has been the longest I’ve gone without killing a plant. And I also celebrate friends who laugh when I simmer at how I’d just been told I’d never visit the moon. What a perfectly vicious thing to say to a person!

I saw an ad this morning for a bra that cannot be seen through a blouse. My response to a visible bra strap is always, “Good, it was expensive.” (These ‘targeted’ ads know nothing about me and have no manners.)

Where to Find Me (And What Writing to Submit)

Dear readers,

I have some new posts coming, but am obliged to take care of some things… about you. Since I’ve announced that I am collecting pieces for an annual publication (guidelines for submission here) to which I am excited to read your contributions, I’m connecting all of you to the publisher accounts so that you can sort of keep tabs on the type of working we’re seeking. Our publishing house, Kajol Crescent, will be issuing the digital and print volumes of the fatal feminist.

To follow us on Instagram, and on Twitter, you can follow both at the handle @KajolCrescent.

Currently, the Instagram showcases more material than the Twitter, but soon the latter will be used for announcements. In order to pay our writers and artists, we’re going to start fundraising for the magazine very soon, but in the meantime, you’re welcome to view some of the work through our publishing house accounts. And of course, I will continue to bring you Qur’anic interpretations here.

I’m attaching a gallery from our insta. Not all of the material is new, but it will be soon. Thank you, as always, for accompanying me in these exegetical endeavors. And don’t forget to submit!

With love,
Nahida

Spheres of Literature series

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been writing as frequently about Islam as of late. This is because I am working on a project that consumes all of my Islam-writing time. However, it’s centered around a specific realm, so I will still be writing little pieces on Islam in other areas.

As for the very present moment, I’d like to introduce a series to this website in which I describe books written by authors of different contents and cultures. The installments of this series will not be consecutive (because I have to read a large range of books before I choose which to discuss), so there will be Islamic posts in between. My goal is to demonstrate that although these books do not (always) overtly engage in identifying colonialist attributes, we often read them as a critique of colonialism merely by virtue of the conditions described and even the places they are about.

This is to say that we become uncomfortable with these books by our own doing. They may very well be books about colonialism, but the amplification of this fact is a consequence of our own defensiveness and awareness of past (and concurring) wrongs. The authors are merely telling their stories; these just happen to be stories that offend us, because we read stories of the Other with a different standard of evaluation than we read our own even though their stories are only as political as ours.

These books are about everyday people living everyday life, just like British or American novels are. The difference is in our perception–we are brought to confront how the characters’ lives got “that way” when we don’t stop to do this for “our own” literature.

How did our lives get “that way”? When you read a novel about the American pioneers, for example, do you think about who they had to kill to get “that way,” to the position that they are at the start of the novel? Of course not, because “white literature” has the privilege of being perceived as apolitical. Even when it is very, very political.

Out of our defensiveness, we are outraged at what literature written by people of color implies. When a character of color is living everyday life, (life that perhaps got “that way” because of a colonial presence) we accuse the author of being too race-focused, even when white literature is nothing but.

I will be arranging these installments by continent, but I acknowledge very forcefully that this is an arbitrary arrangement. (I think there are only six continents. Seriously. Why does Europe get its own continent? I AM TOTALLY going to say that there are only six continents. And if whether we designate a region of the world as its own continent is based on cultural and not geographical difference [hence justifying Europe], then there are definitely MUCH MORE than seven continents.) Civilizations within continents are not homogenous. So here is your disclaimer: the arrangement really means nothing, and I may decide to organize the series differently halfway through.

[CLOSED] Lingerie Giveaway!

red lace panties

This is open to all locations, all religions, and all sexes.

I’d actually wanted to do this giveaway sometime last year, but I kept putting it off because I wasn’t sure how to go about it, considering lingerie is hardly a one-size-fits-all sort of thing! And then I figured I should hurry up with this giveaway, before I am too refined and sophisticated for such things.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

(1) You are going to enter the contest by leaving a comment below (one entry per person) with the email address through which you would like to be contacted if you win (or you can contact me after I announce you, whichever) and

(2) if you do win, you’re going to tell me what sizes you need. Okay? YAY!

You’ll receive a package in the mail with the following:

a brassiere
suspenders/garters
stockings
panties!

Everything will match / work together. You can of course enter for yourself or as a gift to someone else. (I won’t ask, I’ll just need the sizes and your mailing address.) If the brassiere isn’t available in the size you’ve requested, I’ll replace it with one that (I hope) is equally pretty and then match everything else accordingly.

Lacey bras like this are hardly ever in my size! I totally feel your pain.

When you leave your comment, you can leave sizes with it if you want, or if you’d rather that not be public, I’ll ask for them in an email if you win! The winner will be chosen with random.org.

The last day to enter is March 4. I will be announcing the winner that week.