Sunday, May 30, 2010

The earth is from the Shuhood

"That day it will declare its information about all that happened good or evil." Surah 99:4

Ibn Kathir explains with regards to this particular Ayah: The earth is from the Shuhood (witnesses) for or against you. That those places that the people committed sin in, then the earth will bear witness against you and as for the places that the person has done righteousness in, then the earth will also be a witness for you. It's either a witness for you or against you. So this particular matter shows us that the earth itself will testify and it will speak with regards to that which had taken place upon it. 

more here

"A young heron sits dying amidst oil splattering underneath mangrove on an island impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Barataria Bay, along the the coast of Louisiana on Sunday, May 23, 2010." (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Following the story of the BP oil spill has just clinched it for me that I'd really like to drop out of this destructive culture. I don't need a factory farm cow to die for my leather handbag or a toxic leaching brand new cell phone. I don't need ecosystems and native communities to perish for my electric bill. I'd like to grow my own, make my own, be off the grid and support people who do the same. It would mean, in the long run, totally transforming my family's lifestyle as it is now, but I really want to strive harder for this, inshaAllah.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is there such a thing as Self-Sufficient Living?

Bismillah Ar Rahmaan Ar Raheem
As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

Lately I have been very into the topic of "self-sufficient" living. I follow lots of sites and blogs about environmental issues so Im sure this has been slowly leading me there, mashaallah. It also happened one day my family went over to Barnes and Noble and zawjy navigated us over to the DIY section, right next to the collector's section. Z got comfy with a huge Lego book, Uthman found a guide book for Matchbox car collectors, he loved that! and zawj started looking at woodworking books. I looked up and saw this glorious bunch of books and was instantly hooked. one was The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! Another that caught my eye: Homesteading: A Back to Basics Guide   and at zawj's suggestion I was gushing over books on how to make my own socks and wishing I could knit.

I kept this all in mind and consulted my good friends Google and my local library's online catalog and ended up placing on hold a couple of Homesteading books that are considered the best to read (according to bloggers :P ). Hooray for free mashaallah. I tore into them and have so much I'd love to share even just from reading the introductions, but I gotta backtrack just a wee bit before I can do that.

First what is Homesteading and Self-Sufficiency?
Ok we'll just ask Wiki, makes it pretty easy:

"As of 2010 the term may apply to anyone who follows the back-to-the-land movement by adopting a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle. While land is no longer freely available in most areas of the world, homesteading remains as a way of life. According to author John Seymour, 'urban homesteading' incorporates small-scale, sustainable agriculture and homemaking.

Seems pretty clear, but I still gotta clarify

When sharing with anyone about this topic I'd so much rather use the term "Sustainable" vs Self-Sufficient" SubhanAllah as a Muslim I never want to be decieved into thinking I could ever be "Self-Sufficient". I do understand that people who are into homesteading don't necessarily mean they feel they can exist apart from God, but rather are focusing more on independence from the government and global circumstances but you never know what will lead you to kufr, audhobillah. Alhamdulillah, by Allah's permission I also started reading Ibn Taymiyyah's Essay on Servitude   and there is a whole section about Sufficiency. So before sharing anything from those other books I'd like to share from the Kitab and Sunnah first:

"As for al-Hasb, which is what suffices, it is Allaah alone, as Allaah has said:
'Those (i.e. believers) unto whom the people (i.e the hypocrites) said, "Verily, the people have gathered against you (in the form of a great army), therefore, fear them." However, it (only) increased them in Eemaan, and they said: "Our Hasb (i.e. one who sufficies us) is Allâh and how fine a trustee (He is)."(Aali Imran 3:173)

Allah also says:
O Prophet! Your Hasb (i.e. one who suffices) as well as those who follow you of the believers, is Allaah".  (Al-Anfal 8:64)
He also said:
"Is not Allaah sufficient for His 'abd?..." 39:36

We also have some beautiful examples of supplications the Prophet made to remind us that we are not to strive towards thinking we are self sufficient:
‘Allaah is Sufficient for me, none has the right to be worshiped except Him, upon Him I rely and He is Lord of the exalted throne.’ (seven times morning and evening)

‘O Ever Living, O Self-Subsisting and Supporter of all, by Your mercy I seek assistance, rectify for me all of my affairs and do not leave me to myself, even for the blink of an eye.’

Jazak Allahu Khair thanks for reading I hope to share more with you inshaallah

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our Little Garden - Lettuce

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

This year we finally started a little garden. We have a modest sized back yard. We took advantage of the cheap composting bins our county offers, they hooked us up with the Earth Machine, mashaallah:

at some point we can get some nice soil from it inshaallah, but for now we are just using bagged organic mix we got from the hardware store. The boys like to dump the kitchen and yard scraps into it

 We are growing organic heirloom lettuce, we got the seed as a freebie last year from Earthbound Farm, and organic tomatoes, we got the seeds from eBay.

Here is our little lettuce grow one week in. The tomatoes are still sprouting in their little plastic box, not much to show there:

I used to have a garden with my dad and it was so fun I hope the boys enjoy growing some food this year inshaallah