In memory of my Grandfather: Heinz Najman 11/19/1929 – 8/10/2009

Cousin Shenanigans Family Shot Opas Bench Opas Swing Opas Turkeys Family Man

Written 8/12/2009 on the way to our beloved Opa’s funeral.  I was thinking about Opa as the date that his soul left the earth approaches.  I picked up my journal and I found this piece.  I thought I would share it for my family in lieu of being able to attend his memorial service.  I love you all.  Lets continue to keep his legacy alive, always gather together whenever we all can, and never ever cut our ties.

Bismillah.  (In the name of God).

My Opa was good with his hands, he could build anything.  His mischievous, teasing mentality was a constant within our family.  Whether it was a water fight with Oma in the car-(while driving no less!)  Or an entire can of Japanese beetles dumped on my brothers head.  Or even the way he would complain one minute about “wasting away” from the diet Oma put him on and then the next minute he would suggest that it was “Sean” who was ready for dessert…not him.

His house was truly an example of his craftsmanship.  As children we all were passengers on his tractor, his gardener helpers, chicken feeders, explorers of his back yard.  We would be allowed to use his binoculars to watch the animals. Opa even had a special relationship with the animals.  His Chickens, Turkeys, Turkens, Pigs…and the not so domestic ones, perhaps the most memorable…the squirrels.  Ohhh there was nothing that got him more flustered then the squirrels that dared to eat from his beloved bird feeders.  An ongoing battle, he would rig those feeders with whatever he could to keep the squirrels out.  He would buy the newest “squirrel proof” feeder-none of which were ever up to his standards.  So he would make modifications with chicken wire, sheet metal, and plexi-glass.  Until finally, those squirrel catapult feeders were invented.  The squirrel would get onto the feeder, then to his delight, the creature would be launched into the air.  At this sight, his laughter was contagious.

It really was the littlest things that gave him the most joy, and he passed that down to all of us.  The most important thing to him was and always will be; family.  A true craftsman, that molded us all into what we are today.  Although his soul is no longer with us on this earth, the spirit he instilled in us will always be present.  Whether it be the contagious laughter he passed down to Uncle Jeff, or the ingenuity he taught my brother, or the stubborn stick-to-it-tiveness that he has instilled in all of us.

Thank you Opa, for all that you did for us, and for all the struggle that you went through in your young life in order to survive and create this legacy with your beautiful and equally amazing wife Oma.

Dua for the Oppressed



Ya Rabb (My Lord), Ya Al-Mu’Min (The Giver of Peace), Ya Al-Malik (The Sovereign), Ya Al-Rahim (The Merciful), Ya Al-Darr (The Afflictor), Ya Al-Muhaymin (The Protector)…

Ya Allah who knows the best of all his names, please help them. Ya Al-Mu’Min if they can not have peace on this earth then grant them peace in their hearts on the battlefield and grant them the loftiest of peace in the hereafter. Ya Allah Al- Aziz (The Almighty), Ya Allah Al-Mu’izz (The Honourer), Honor them with the highest of Honors. Ya Al-Adl (The Just), bring justice to the oppressed. Send them thousands of angels to help them, and send those who fear none but you. Ya Al-Halim (The All-Clement), pardon our mistakes and disobedience to you for you are Al-Tawwab The Acceptor of Repentance). Ya Al- Hafiz (The Guardian), please guide those oppressors, soften their hearts to Islam and Ya Al-Wakil (The Trustee), if guidance is not written for them, then protect us Al-Waliyy (The protector) in every way from them.   Give those suffering, strength, patience, and jennah for this trial is great. If they die let it be with li illiah hi il lallah on their lips. Ameen.



I simply can not look at another image of a babies blown off limbs or another video of young boys, women, men and children being beaten to death. I can not view another picture of the looming smoke over a destroyed Muslim country. My heart aches and my tears run, I feel sick to my stomach. But sometimes we need those images to wake us up.

My power and your power is Dua. It is Ramadan, and if all we are worried about is what we are cooking for Iftar tonight, or what dress we are wearing for Eid then WE ARE THE REASON WHY WE ARE IN THIS STATE. YES. If your heart doesn’t ache for your brothers and sisters all over the world then you need to check the status of your heart. You need to cleanse it and renew it this Ramadan. Make DUA. Make DUA before you break your fast, MAKE DUA in the the last third of the night, MAKE DUA when it rains, MAKE DUA while you are traveling. Make thicker to Allah and keep your tongue wet in remembrance to him and in remembrance of your brothers and sisters who are suffering. I remind myself first and foremost. We are in crisis, and the only way to fix it is to fix ourselves. Allah says “Verily, Allaah will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah)” (13:11) It is in our hands, and the hands of Our Lord. Allah has not nor will he ever forsake us. When you are in Sujood and Our Lord has descended to the lowest heaven remember them. For Allah is Maliku’l-Mulk (The Lord of the Kingdom), he is Dhu’l-Jalal, Wa’l-Ikram (The Lord of Majesty and Generosity).

“Oh you who believe! Bow down and prostrate yourselves and serve your Lord, and do good.” (22:77)

I learned this from Al Maghrib Institute today:
Wherever you see dhulm/injustice and oppression in the world today, don’t think Allah will forget it! Whether in this world or in the next, the rights of the people will be upheld!
The Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Dhulm is of three types:
1. A dhulm that Allah will never forgive
2. A dhulm that He will forgive
3. A dhulm that He will never leave alone

As for the dhulm that that He will not forgive, then that is Shirk. Allah said, “Indeed attributing partners to Allah is a terrible injustice.” (al-Luqmān, 13)

As for the dhulm that He will forgive, then that is the injustice from the people themselves towards their Lord.

As for the dhulm that He will never leave alone, then that is when the people oppress one another. It will not be left alone until everyone receives their right and justice from one another.”
(al-Bazzār, Hasan)

May Allah help and guide us all Ameen.


The “Winnowing Winds”.

The “Winnowing Winds” are blowing

A change of tide is coming

Spring is bursting…

Rotund buds adorn every tree and bush,

swollen with the desire to unleash what’s inside.


Newborn lambs, on wobbly legs.

Bucking at the teat of their patient mothers.

Curious, strong and frail, all at the same time.

So are we, dependent on Him, yet independent,

with free will, ego and stubbornness.


Wild leeks explode from the ground, through detritus layers of decomposition.

The first spring food granted to us.

Pungent, fresh and bright green.

A flavor reminiscent of Summer,

In the resurrection that is Spring.

“And Allah has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.” 16:65


The Ramps are

Kindred to our own souls.


Thrusting through the earth.

Emancipated, and piquant,

Alluring and naive.

They arrive virtually just after the snow has melted away,

Before the tree leaves unfold to greet the sun.


There is something grounding

About a walk in the woods, with the mud at your feet

The sweet smell of musty leaves and wet earth.


When you find them you will know.

Two bright green leaves

With arms outstretched.

Facing the heavens, as if to greet their maker with gratefulness and awe.


There is something fulfilling

About finding these God given foods.

Wild foraging

When it’s still cold and damp.

When ones human mind cannot conceive that the earth might bring forth food at such an early point of spring.


That’s Al Razzaq.

The All Provider.

Providing for us where our human minds would not think to look.

At the time when we need it most.


As I nourish my body this spring, before the leaves and flowers in all their vibrant splendor arrive,

I cannot help but to notice how nature tells the story of the Quran right before my eyes…

                “By the (winds) that scatter broadcast;

                And those that lift and bear away heavy weights

                And those that flow with ease and gentleness;

                And those that distribute and apportion by


                Verily that which ye are promised is true;

                And verily Judgment and Justice must indeed

                come to pass.”       51:1-6


The spring wind gusts around me, carrying seeds and dust.

With my hands in the dirt


I cannot help but compare myself to the ramp

Using all of my energy to burst through the earth:

To claw my way through this Dunia.


Much like the life of a dandelion,

Bright yellow, vibrant and full of youth,

Our life here is fleeting.

One day our hair too will grow into a wispy white,

We must be mindful of the winds that blow.

We mustn’t wait for our old age to find piety.

You never know when the day will come.

The gust

That will set free the seeds.

“Scatter Broadcast”.

The day when you are risen alone.

With “no protection or helper”.


With arms outstretched,

I look up in awe

At the beauty of the sky.

I look down at the earth

The dirt we were fashioned from.

I revel in the sustenance granted by my maker:

The delicacy I cut from the ground.


There is something Humbling

About the nature of giving and receiving

About my hands in the dirt

About plucking my food from the earth

About the feeling of spring after a long cold winter

About the blessings we are surrounded with

That go unnoticed every day.


I kneel in the dirt

And turn my face to the splendor of the sky.

I close my eyes and smell the earth.

I silently Thank God for all of the beauty

All of the Blessings.

For the food I gather for my family.

For spring

For new beginnings

For being Al Razaaq.

Alhamdulillah I am forever grateful.








Note****Ramps aka. wild leeks are a wild onion found in the forests of Vermont in the spring before the tree leaves come out.  They can be foraged and harvested for about a month.  Also thank you to Maria and Ward Ogden for the beautiful visit we had with they and their lambs this spring.