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  1. Assalamualaikum, I will be traveling to the Middle East in a couple weeks in shaa Allah, and I have a bunch of questions regarding prayer. Keep in mind I am a relatively new convert, so please be patient with me. 1) I read that all prayers during travel are 2 rakat. What counts as "travel"? I will be traveling for around 14 days, going in between cities, staying a couple nights in each and going around either to nearby cities or exploring the city I am staying in each day. Is "travel" simply the plane rides and bus rides, or the whole trip, since I am not staying in the same place the whole time? 2) Part of my trip will be in Jerusalem, and I plan to pray at Al Aqsa in shaa Allah. I was warned by a Palestinian friend of mine, however, that it is very dangerous if I pray like a Shia there and I should do taqiyyah and perform my prayers like a Sunni. Given recent events, it is even more dangerous to be praying noticeable differently at Al Aqsa, as people might suspect me to be a Zionist actor and become violent. Do I have to make up prayers later that are performed in taqiyyah? 3) Just in general, what are the rulings on praying salat at a Sunni mosque with Sunnis? The nearest Shia mosque to me is 3 hours away, and I cannot drive. The nearest Sunni mosque is 15 minutes by bus. If I prayed Jummah there, would I follow the imam or do it the way we do it? Would I stand in line with all of the others, or just quietly do my own thing in the back? Background note, I am a woman, so since congregational Jummah prayers are not obligatory upon me, I have not been going to the mosque. 4) If I am in a situation where I am unable to find pure water or dust for wudu, should I pray anyway, or would they not count? Is impure water better than nothing? 5) What's up with sutrahs? Do we use those anymore, or does a prayer rug essentially outline the space necessary for salah? JazakAllah khair and thank you for your patience with me.
  2. As-salam alaikum dear brothers and sisters... This is my first post on this site, so please forgive me of any errors and or ignorance I show of lingo used here or what have you. What is written below here, is not of any real philosophical nature, but more, words from my heart; a heart right now that is very heavy. I realize, given the status of the world right now, from environment to, what I sense as, the general apathy towards everything by humanity, their rudeness, unkindness, and other failings, what I am feeling right now does not qualify as any real problem, it is not truly important in the grand scheme, nor do I wish, through ego, to make it so. I write this because I feel alone, and I desperately need to find some solace. Always, I turn to Allah and the Divine in these times, and then to loved ones, but I need foster stronger ties to the Shia community, my community, and that is why I joined this site today. I lost a friend. And then several. They didn't die, al hamdulillah. They left my side, because I was discovered to be a Shia Muslim woman and not a follower of Sunni thought. Based on the nation where I have ties to, automatically, yet ignorantly, people assume I must be Sunni. I am not. I never was. And I never will be. I posted a video, the adhan from Karbala, Iraq, complete with the verse for Imam Ali, and the words that Prophet Muhammad, SAW, spoke for Ali that start, "...I am the City of Knowledge and Ali is the Gate...". As you know it is Ramadan, blessed Ramadan, and I posted this video to my Facebook page to truly post something that I found beauty in, something I loved, was moved by, etc. All month I have been posting inspirational and truly wondrous pictures of masjids, people, spiritual music, verses from the Qur'an, adhans from here and there, and even more so, the desperate need for true and strong Shia-Sunni unity; the return of the Ummah. All month long I had been getting positive feedback, from all sorts of people, mostly Sunni though, because most of the Muslims in my area are Sunni, but regardless, perhaps I was hoping that we had reached a point in time where people were more willing to embrace peace, more aware of the need for love in the world and the dismissal of the sinful plague of division. But this night, this past Saturday night, I posted this adhan just before Fajr and fell back asleep, no I am not trying to cheat through the days of Ramadan, I truly didn't feel well, so I rested again. I awoke at 11am-ish and to over 20 notifications on my phone. Many of the Shia friends I have had liked and commented positively on the video. But there was one guy, who ironically, is Iraqi by descent and went on a full blown tirade about the "evil and unauthentic nature" of this adhan and how wayward Shia thought is in general. He even went as far as to say, alarmingly stupidly though, "I would rather be part of the majority than the minority. Would you rather get a 95% (Sunni) on a test, or a 5% (Shia) on a test???" -- Spend no time refuting the percentages, I know they are wrong. You know they are wrong. He is a fool, a buffoon, an idiot. So what bothers me about such a silly, stupid man? Well...his mother is dying. Dying. And I have been one of the only people holding his hand, comforting him, encouraging him, seriously making dua after dua for him and his family and for her sake, Allah yer7ama, and I am absolutely stunned that in this moment, well for just this post, my posting of this adhan, could have brought out such disgust and resentment in him to FORGET all that I was doing for him, all the conversations, the tender moments (non-sexual please, this was a platonic friendship), the laughs, the tears...and just completely erupt, in a clearly brainwashed manner, bashing and railing against me, my friends, the Shia of today, he even went as far as to insult Imam Hussain and Imam Ali...I was just stunned. And hurt. I had missed much of the conversation due to my sleeping, so when I woke to these things and finally posted something very short and simple, compared to the long responses of Shia friends and his ramblings, I wrote..."I love it (sarcasm). Sunni Muslims fight against the Yazids of today, but then they rail against and hate on the Shia people...thus embracing Yazid. (His name), for the record, majority does not guarantee right or just." I then realized that he had un-friended me. Again, this is not about the details of the matter, and let me remind you that I know this is not an earth-shattering event, but it did get me thinking, and it very truly is about principle. A friend, a fellow Palestinian (but male) wrote, I am Palestinian and 100% Shia and then he wrote about his dismay over what this Iraqi had written, especially during Ramadan...he then said, "I guess this is where taqqiyah comes from". No. I refuse. For the sake of Imam Hussain, and Ahlul Bayt, I refuse to hid who I am. I know that from where I sit, this is easy. I live in no real danger, unlike my brothers and sisters in Bahrain for example, but no. I will not hide. I will not deny. I will not be scared or live a double life. I refuse taqqiyah. I refuse to let our people walk like ghosts, sliding through the Muslim, mostly Arab Sunni, world like jinn, never really showing our true selves, hiding our tears during Ashura and renouncing Muhammad's (SAW) family. I refuse. I have suffered many hardships in my life, when I was a child, and from where I sit now, I refuse to cower again. I wish I could, and I want to urge, scream to the heavens, all of my fellow Shia people to never accept living in shadow! We do not deserve this! And moreover, the very name and memory of Imam Hussain does not deserve this! I wrote on the bottom of the post, for all to see, "I will not hide. Live honorably and honestly or die in vain. Never will I hide my true Muslim path!" ...I suspect more people have pulled away from me. And this is why my heart is heavy. In the face of complete isolation, I will not break, and I dearly hope you do not either. I will not hide. I will not accept taqqiyah. I am who I am. And our path is the glorious path that it is. My brothers and sisters, it is time for us to throw off the cloak of secrecy. These people are meant to be our own (the Sunni) but they refuse our truth. This is injustice. And it must be challenged! These thoughts and feelings are my own. Much respect and due love to all the Shia in the world suffering at the hands of corrupt governments, oppressive lovers, friends and or families. May Allah shine His light upon you and may we all be free!!!!
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