… some pictures of the valley:
the storks are back – a sign that spring is near, inchallah. Happy week to you!
Our valley in December, the snow is gone and the frugal beauty of a naked landscape shows itself.
Wishing you a beautiful solstice-days and a blessed beginning of winter with the return of light and warmth inside your hearts!
We spent ‘Id el adha at grandpa’s home with the whole family, as every year, alhamdulillah: doing the community prayer in the open air, eating traditional porridge, slaughtering the sheep together, enjoying the good food, visiting friends and praising God.
The next day we already left the celebrations and drove away on a little holiday, subhanallah, first towards Marrakech, meeting dear ones, and then up and away to Europe, where we’ve spent the last week.
We cherish, value and embrace the last days of this year’s summer holidays, with peaceful moments to remember and many preparations to be done before a new school year begins, inchaallah.
Alhamdulillah and thanks God for all the blessings around us, for friends, for love, for new chances and new challenges.
Wishing you and yours beautiful and blessed late summer days! Salam aleikoum.
The togetherness of Muslims during ‘Id is much similar to the togetherness every Friday during prayer and eating couscous as a family.
What are the memories of the past weeks? What did I learn from Ramadan?
Which of those blessings am I able to carry on with me into my daily life?
Can I manage to take at least parts of this increased worship into my everydays?
Are we able, all together, to lighten the world with the peaceful, silent, deep insights we hopefully had during the past blessed month?
Are we able to make this world a better place, all together, every one of us in our own surroundings, just by being the best Muslims we ever were?
Ya Rabb, help us to keep the high level of spirituality far beyond Ramadan.
Help us staying steadfast in your worship,
and help us living in real kindness and love with our brothers and sisters in faith and humanity.
All together. For a peaceful world.
Blessed Friday and blessed month of Shawwal!
Vacation is here and we have been travelling, the little girl and I, for some medical appointments:
Marrakech – always a wonderful opportunity to stay with friends, to share good company, to visit beautiful cafés, to ponder about all the contrasts everywhere, to feel warm weather and spring in the city, and although I became kind of shy and it always feels a bit strange to me walking through crowded streets, it is nice to go shopping, to eat special treats, to smell the orange blooms, and to enjoy for some days the liveliness and the vivid pulsing atmosphere of this favourite red city of mine. Alhamdulillah.
It’s a gift to travel from time to time, and it is a gift to come home with new inspiration. Subhanallah.
Blessed weekend friends, and keep warm, inchaallah!
Life in these mountains is beautiful, simple and sometimes rough, especially during winter, mashaallah. As the days grew shorter also work reduces. The harvesting is done, the roofs are repaired, and the hard work of preparing for a frozen winter is over and no more field work to do – difficult for those who have not stored enough food for the cattle for the coming cold months.
Life concentrates now around the house with the tasks of cooking, washing, feeding the animals and also crafting. One gathers in the kitchen, in front of the stove, with some embroidery or weaving work at hand, in the living room under piles of blankets and with a warm glass of tea, or outside on the sunny terrace.
Nature seems to go asleep: the leaves are fallen; the crows come down the mountains to gather in the valley; the storks are almost gone; the fields become brown and children play where several weeks before the crop was still growing. The skies are clear and blue and the air is fresh. The sun still warms a lot, but the shadow is freezing cold. The mountains are covered in white and some first snow reached already the ground – A hard winter can be expected. Family, fire and food give comfort now and the trees hold already the promise of new live, of green leaves and warmer days, inchaallah.
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~ Chief Seattle, 1854 ~
the typical Berber woman’s work when late autumn leads towards winter
It was nine years ago when I spent my first ‘Id in that valley here, the first ‘Id of my life. Subhanallah.
At that time I was Christian, I was a architecture student on professional formation. I was discovering Moroccan life and culture. I was a common western girl, open to everything new, with the ambitions of a seeker. And I was a vegetarian.
And you know, ‘Id el Adha is the feast of the sheep.
It is a celebration of God’s mercy upon mankind. It happens in memory of Prophet Abraham (as), who was called by Allah to sacrifice his dear son Ismail to prove his faith. And because of Allah’s mercy, Who then offered Abraham a sheep to kill instead, Muslims remember this day every year by praying, obeying to God and by slaughtering a sheep as well.
So it is one of the most important feast days for Muslims, it is a day of gathering together in worship and peace, it is celebrated with the slaughter of a sheep and by sharing and eating a lot of its meat – I mean really a LOT.
So in 2002, when I still was a Christian vegetarian with no idea about ‘Id, about peaceful animal killing and no interest in meat eating, all of this was very new and very uncommon to me.
But I was eager to learn. And this day should become a lesson of my life:
The obedience and deep faith of the Muslims who joined together in the early morning sunshine on the top of a hill, to pray and to serve God.
The brotherhood of the village’s men who met in front of the mosque to peacefully deal with problems and to organize the village’s year to come.
And especially the slaughtering of the sheep in the courtyard of the family’s farm was a lesson greater than everything else.
I’ve never thought that killing an animal could become a beautiful, silent act of worship, but indeed it was:
The peacefulness of the whole atmosphere.
The quiet obedience of the sheep to offer himself in the name of God, the Almighty.
The soft “Allahu akbar” said before the very sharp knife cuts through the windpipe to take immediately every life out of the animal.
The silent running of the red warm blood out of the sheep.
The meditative proficiency of my father in law who knows every slaughtering step by heart, mashaallah, and who cut the whole body with impressive knowledge.
The cleanliness of the meat and how every part of that animal offered itself as if it would like to say: “take me and enjoy me in the name of our God”.
The cat that impatiently waited to leak what was left.
- I was totally taken by the beauty of the whole scene in every detail, subhanallah, and I knew that I have to taste this meat.
This was the day when I slowly left my vegetarian life and more and more understood about faith, devotion and a deeper meaning and connection of all things.
It was the mark of the beginning of my journey to Islam and to this valley. Allahu akbar!
The ‘Id day, with all the praying, with the slaughtering and the being together at the family’s house, became a tradition to me and my little family. Alhamdulillah.
And it is the ‘Id of 2002 which I remember every year from new, with thankfulness, wonder and awe.
Labbaik Allahumma labbaik.