Books- Julia Childs & Halaqa

Its not like I set out in life to be a prolific reader. Mind you.. once you become one there is no going back. It has its upsides depending on what you read.. if your a news junkie like me.. then your always up to date on things- no problems- its a seemingly innocent.

Until you realize that libraries just don’t cut it.. always have to wait for the book you want to read right now or have it shipped over from another branch- plus there is the added inconvience of having to get to the library during the hours of operation. Which in my small town – is near impossible. Plus.. I have a slight issue with giving back a book that is so awesome- I want to keep to read again and again. So whats a gal to do?

So after years of spending.. slightly horrifying amounts on books- around $40 every visit to the bookstore which could be as frequently as every other week at the rate I read at.

Signal the angelic choir- I found PaperbackSwap.com.. I could now get rid of books that I didn’t want anymore by the box load if I desired and earn credits to get newer books I desired.

It was like manna from Jannah (Heaven). I am happy to say this website has enabled to me quit spending so much money on books and gain more patience.. to wait for what I want.

On that note.. I recently really wanted to watch the movie Julie and Julia.
I am a fan of cooking shows.. like Rachel Ray- those TV chefs who realize A: Normal people do not have a fully stocked professional kitchen on hand. B. We don’t have a Epicurean vocabulary from birth or for that matter at all. C. Who has time to spend an 3 hrs learning the technique just to cook a single ingredient for the recipe? Thank goodness for individuals like Rachel Ray.. keeping things simple- unlike Julia Childs.

By the time I got around to being able to watch this movie with my crazy work schedule- it was no longer in the theaters. >Sigh< However I got my hands on a copy of the book at Costco. This book is wickedly funny and I feel deliciously sinful eating things like pizza while reading of the trials and tribulations of Julie the main character. Upgrade- My girl friends and I started our Halaqa!! Our text for our first meeting was, Dealing With Worries & Stress by Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid. It went pretty well- done in an interesting mix of girl chit chat with – book club critics of the text and the authors writing style and/or intent. In the end we all felt like the author was really following more of the “Present” or “Now” philosophy- aka live in the present don’t dwell on the past or the future. Indeed it was great to see what one scholar thought were healthy worries verse time wasting worries.

A few of the gems of the text in my opinion were:

Reminding us of the Realities of the World-

“The believer knows that this world is only temporary, that its luxuries are few, and
that whatever pleasures exist here are always imperfect. ”

Reminding us of the power of Dua (Prayer):
His servant Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) tells us: “I used to serve the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he stayed in Madeenah (i.e. was
not travelling). I often used to hear him saying: ‘Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min
al-hamm wa’l-hazn wa’l-‘ajz wa’l-kasal wa’l-bukhl wa’l-jubn wa dala’ al-dayn wa
ghalbat al-rijaal (O Allaah, I seek refuge with You from distress, grief, incapacity,
laziness, miserliness, cowardice, the burden of debt and from being overpowered by
men).”

For our next Halaqa- We will be reading Surah al Nisa -(The Women) from Muhammad Asad Translation of the Qur’an- we decided we would read the entire Qur’an – InshaAllah as a part of our Halaqa.

I personally am very happy to have created a new circle of friends in the Bay Area- indeed the differences I have noted between my different sets of Muslim friends are interesting based on geography. The majority of my southern california friends are all married, with children and more conservative – perhaps also more practicing? Allah Ahlem.. My northern california friends are not married, have no kids and are more liberal and critically thinking than my SoCal friends- Less practicing? Allah Ahlem..

Alhumdualillah for the friends I have. May Allah (swt) guide us to the straight path. Ameen.

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