Saturday, December 31, 2005

But I Digress

I wondered if I'd feel different after turning 20. Maybe more confident, or perhaps better equipped to face the world. But I don't. Not really. I find myself repeating "I'm 20, I'm 20, I'm 20" every time I realize I'm doing something stupid (which is often). It's irritating. [Aside: Someone (ahem ahem) gave me a Spongebob bouncy ball for my birthday and said it was because it combined two important elements in my life. Go figure.]

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cookies

Basically, after the first few days of my break from school, I felt useless. So, I decided to volunteer at my old elementary school. This is my second week (it's an Islamic school, so their Christmas break doesn't really exist - they have a "Eid break" instead). I mostly work with grade 2. It's pretty fun being about in a school when you don't have to follow the rules and you get to discipline children. It is pretty frightening though to be working with some of my old teachers who have yet to retire. I'm still scared of some of them. Hehe, this picture reminds me of when I was in grade two: I made cookies with the kids today. Very fun, but everything in the class got smeared with cookie dough. Try to picture this: Kid: "Sister, can I eat some of the dough?" Me: "No." Kid: "Please, sister?" Me: "I said No!" Kid: "Please, Sister!" Me: "No, for the love of God! No!" But hey, the cookies tasted pretty good :) Kids eating the cookies: I realize that I don't hate teaching as much as I thought I did. I'm also working with a student who doesn't read that well and she's making progress, which makes me pretty happy, Alhamdulillah. The end.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

un-watered

A statement that I hate very much: "You just wouldn't understand." Or any other form of the statement that means the same thing. People you love the most are always the ones who hurt you the most. Thought question: are shorter people smarter than taller people? I mean, with taller people, blood circulation needs to fulfill a greater area. So like, the brain doesn't get as much blood as it would in a shorter person. You see? So if you're tall, you may have very well-produced legs and arms, but a brain that isn't well watered. And is it really the most wonderful time of the year? Well, it must be, because I know that after today, Christmas music will begin to subside and regular elevator music will take its place. Also, tomorrow: cheap chocolate. In other news, actually, never mind. There was no newspaper today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Best proposal scene ever

This is from Pride and Prejudice (the older version, not the one currently in theatres). The fact that Mr. Darcy gets rejected by Elizabeth after this proposal of his makes it all the better: "In vain I have struggled. It will not do! My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. In declaring myself thus I'm aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and, I hardly need add, my own better judgement. The relative situation of our families makes any alliance between us a reprehensible connection. As a rational man I cannot but regard it as such myself, but it cannot be helped. Almost from the earliest moments, I have come to feel for you...a passionate admiration and regard, which despite my struggles, has overcome every rational objection. I beg you, most fervently, to relieve my suffering and consent to be my wife." Mr. Darcy has to be the coolest. Stop trying to make a connection between this quote and myself and the objective of this blog. It's not going to work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hijab and Modesty: a Severed Connection?

I was reading Islamic Horizons magazine produced by ISNA, and I came across an amusing piece on fashion. Here's an excerpt... "Ambling through the Convention Centre this year, you might have mistaken the Hyatt's hallways for runways. Women with perfectly-coiffed manes and stylish blazers passed by ladies with ornate hijabs and manicured nails. Pointy-toed shoes clicked past colorful flip-flops in the bazaar. Traditional hijabs and jilbabs are seemingly harder to spot year after year, as unique interpretations of the season's latest fashions find their ways onto ISNA-goers. Case in point. Knee-length dresses were all the rage this year, but paired with pants or jeans for modesty's sake. Many girls wore embroidered tank tops or sleeveless blouses obscured beneath this season's hottest item, the shrug. Long layered gypsy skirts in vibrant colors were matched to hijabs and purses, and reds and lavenders proved to be the hottest hues of the Labor Day weekend... The hotel lobby glittered aplenty this year, since sequins formed the staple of virtually every ensemble. Belts, purses, peasant skirts, and shawls all shimmered in rich shades of emerald, turquoise, magenta, gold, and silver. From the sparkles adorning their clothes to the funky, jeweled accessories embellishing their outfits, 'bling-bling' was definitely at the forefront of the ISNA fashion scene this year..." There's not really much I can say to this. It struck me as just plain ridiculous. I'm all for Muslim women looking their best, but this is too much. The article wasn't limited to women - there was also a chunk about men's fashion at the conference, but I didn't find it quite as fascinating as the above selection. The point of wearing hijab is not to attract as much attention as is humanly possible. Quite the contrary. But I'm sure many people disagree with me. Oh well. I wonder if there will be a similar phenomenon at RIS. Those of you who attend can enlighten me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Tale as old as time...

So, today we fished out Disney's Beauty and the Beast from our dusty video collection and decided to watch it. This is Beauty and the Beast, for all of you uncultured fools out there: I couldn't totally enjoy the movie though since I'd have to stop and point out all the ridiculous things. Like, why is Belle wearing the same dress to her wedding that she wore when she had her first date with Beast? And since he only goes by the name "Beast", what does Belle call him after he becomes human? These are pressing questions that need to be answered. There were also some outbursts from my sister in regards to the cute and playful dog/cushion: "Okay, it's a freakin cushion." Oh yeah, when the mob is going to the castle to kill the beast, they're singing this: We don't like What we don't understand In fact it scares us And this monster is mysterious at least Bring your guns Bring your knives Save your children and your wives We'll save our village and our lives We'll kill the Beast! Uh, right. I still enjoyed it though, it's a classic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"Asmaa, you're like a cactus pear, you need to be handled with gloves."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Three cents

I was at the grocery store today and my little sister wanted to buy chips. So, I'm like okay, they're on sale for $2.47. Then, I look at the original price, and it's $2.50. And at the bottom of the price tag it says "save 3 cents". Wow, what a deal. My dad's like, 3 cents makes a difference, if you buy 300 packs, you'll save $3.00

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The End and the Beginning

Thursday night, I descended into a state of euphoria. My last test of the semester, no more school work (or at least not as much) for the next four weeks. Thursday night, I had the most blissful sleep I have had for the past four months. The office where I go to do bookings for my MSA has these strange coloured walls - beige, but almost pink. Yes, that's it. Salmon pink. The faded landscape paintings on those walls will, for now, only be a dull memory. Ahh, how I look forward to the upcoming days...the irony of it all is that the first thing I did when I left my last class was go to the library and check out some non-school related books.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December

The long December and there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last... It hits with remarkable speed. November 1st rolls around then BAM, just like that, it's December. My birthday's at the end of December. It's funny because I imagine myself teasing my mom when I was in there. Like, I was totally going to be born the next year but then I just felt like surprising everyone. Okay, it's not that funny after all. I was thinking that technically, I'm already 20 seeing as how I was in my mom for 9 months. People just start counting your life only once you're born...but why? You're alive when you're in the womb too. I was telling my sister this and she said in that case, why don't we just start counting our age from when Allah (SWT) created us in the heavens and made us bear witness that he was the only God worthy of worship... So, I had to recall my previous argument. In other news, a button fell off my coat when I was at school and rolled onto the street. So as I was picking it up I was picturing this sign: Just pretend that the circle is a button. I was sewing it back on today and I made absolutely sure that I made the stitching tight so it wouldn't fall off again. Of course, it had to end up being misaligned with the rest of the buttons, so I'll look kind of like a moron. Oh well.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Hijabi Gangsta

So, talking to a friend on MSN, won't mention who. AHEM So she's telling me that she's all gangster-like. So I drew her this portrait of herself, which she loves and will hang on her wall. She was not completely satisfied, however, and insisted that I give her the genuine dollar-sign necklace: Ah, the musings of a female at 1:00am who should be writing an essay and is instead mulling over retarded drawings. Her: btw, my hijab is all messed up in the second one. Gotta keep da image, u know wha i'm sayin'

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Rise and Fall...

My mom is funny. When someone asks her about her kids, she has this list prepared in her mind with exactly what to say (big family). From this virtual list (similar to a shopping list), she reads out everyone's name, what they're studying, and a bunch of other wonderful facts about them. Except, on her list, I've been 16 years old for the past four years and I go to Ryerson. Oh well. Actually, I was applying for a job the other day and this is the conversation that happened between myself and the manager: Her: how old are you? Me: errr, almost 20. Her: Okay, because you have to be 18 or above to work here. Me: Do I look younger than 18? Her: Yeah, you look 16. Me: Cool. Her: Well, whatever you're doing, it's working. Sometimes I want to stop people, even random people and just tell them that nerds need love too.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Horror, at first sight

I saw this and fell in love with it, instantly: This reminds me of some of those ridiculous horror movies I watched as a child. You know the ones I'm talking about: -Evil posessed teddy bears/dolls that stab you with scissors in the leg. -Killer meatballs (meatballs that are really big and roll over you, and in turn, killing you.) -Killer bees/bugs/birds/piranhas/snakes, etc.

(Perhaps movie-makers were stuck in a rut back then. Arguably, they still are.)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Couple a' things

So, I finally handed in that devil paper today. In other news, I saw a pigeon on the Bathurst subway station platform - it was going Westbound. I've seen this pigeon strutting around several times before...what I want to know is whether or not it had to pay to get on the subway. Also, word is out that I was wearing Spongebob earmuffs today. Speaking of which, it's snowing here. From an episode of Spongebob: Spongebob: What is this stuff? (when he sees snow) Patrick: It's a vast, swirling wonderland of sparkling white pleasure. Let it fill your senses with cascading, fluffy pillows of excitement and comfort as you've never felt before. (this brings a tear to Sponge's eye) Spongebob: Wow Pat, that was beautiful. Patrick: What? I was just reading this candy bar wrapper, see? (he hands Sponge the wrapper. Sponge gasps) Gaaah you wouldn't understand!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Okay, so my sister put my jacket on today and she found a dime in the pocket. Can you believe that? A dime from last winter. (these are the kinds of posts you make when you have a 40% paper due in 2 days that you haven't started on.) But seriously, ten entire cents. It was really shiny too.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Indicative

Conversation between my brother and I: Me: Hey, have you ever seen my blog header? (you know, the pic on the top of my blog) Bro: what is it a picture of? Me: my backpack, sweater and feet. It has no significance. Bro: just like your life. Word of the week: "indicative"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Surrender

Reflection of the trees. Everything here is failing, take this beauty, ravaged by an unspeakable pain. edges of my soul wither and brown, dry. turn in upon themselves. A tree loosens its grip on its leaves. Cruel. allows them to die so that it can live. I am dying. Stripped, nothing left but her, the essence; bare and unprotected. Shivering. Free, for all to see. Winter sets in without hope for spring.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Found it

This is like when something so apparently insignificant can jolt your heart and cause it to release its binding and open up to show the deep chasms of light and dark. Frightening as it is, it causes you to reflect - will you close up your heart as quickly as it has been cracked apart, or will you have the courage to face the dark that you find within it - and the light - with opened eyes and a sincere mind? At times I've felt this heart harden and close up, but now I can see again that I am not hoplessly lost. I have a map; it's just a matter of following the directions without taking my eyes off the road. Edit: What I found was the story of Abu Bakr (radiyAllahu anhu). Ask.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ever have the feeling of being detached from yourself? I've been feeling like that all week - it's like floating without an anchor. It's a conflict that happens when the chaos in your mind sharply contrasts with the normal mechanical happenings of your day; it's maddening. As stressful as it was, Eid sort of made it better :) It feels good to be connected to something so wholly bigger and greater than you. In other news, November. Bismillah.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I was going to post about Eid, but I still haven't recovered from it. Eid Mubarak everyone :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Oh Lord, here I am pleading at Your door send me Your mercy send me Your peace or I am lost for sure. Oh Lord, here I am yearning for Your cure this humble servant will be diverted from You no more.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Chocolate and Violence: not for the faint of heart

It's like this: I've been craving chocolate all day like a maniac. It's not a joke - my body physically needed it - my eyes were twitching and I was having muscle spasms... It started when I googled chocolate chip cookies (randomly) and then set my MSN display picture as that (blame it on hunger - no, no, blame it on irrationality). Uhh anyways, this desire to eat chocolate chip cookies subsided eventually and was replaced by a burning desire for nutella (this was during my English literature class, mind you). I hope my professor didn't notice the glazed look in my eyes... Okay, so I'm at Jumuah prayer and then my next class and then a meeting - and all I can think about is chocolate. It was maniacal: "So, Asmaa, how are you?" "Do you have chocolate?" "Ummm...no" "Then leave me alone" So when I got home I called my dad and told him I needed chocolate and to buy some on his way home from the mosque - he pulled through for me (love my dad): Listen, yes, I know I'm fully deranged for taking these pictures, but I care not. Chocolate-covered raisins (my little sister's doughy hands) Outside of the chocolate bar. Hazelnut - just what I was craving too. The inside. I had it with tea (so the chocolate would melt). And then, bliss.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The history of our enemies

We tend to summarize people. We take one attribute of a person and expand it, stretch it beyond recognition - and that's all they are, it's all they become. Unrecognizable fragments of faces that were once beautiful. We take a person's life and skip the bits that seem to be unimportant, then coldly deduce and calculate who they are and what they mean to us. We label, categorize, stigmatize, and discriminate. We make enemies out of those who should be friends. Someone tell me why we are so cruel and unforgiving. "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Why...

Why do the weirdest things happen at MSA meetings? Use your imagination.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nerds...seriously.

Okay. So, the MSA has an office at my campus and I had to be there today for an office hour. I came in and there was a specially labelled little bag that said "ASMAA." Now, naturally I was curious, since, well, my name is Asmaa. So, I cautiously approached this mysterious bag (actually, I wasn't very cautious at all). I opened it and found two packs of nerds. Just like that; no note, no explanation, just nerds. Now, I'm beyond puzzled. The person who I thought left them for me denied the allegation profusely. Very strange indeed. Who was it? Fess up! These are nerds, just in case you guys didn't know. (And I even got the grape/strawberry and peach/wildberry!) And then, to top that off, Hajera and Safiyyah, who were both craving something sweet as it so happened, got a hold of my nerds. They then had an actual argument as to what the most advantageous way to open the pack was. They were actually struggling with it, which made me think that they must have had a very deprived childhood. Oh well.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Ramadan Game

I'm posting this before going to Tarweeh prayer... So we were eating iftar today and we heard a knock at the door. My mom went to answer it and it was one of our Somalian neighbours from across the hall. She brought us samosas and other food that I can't really name. It was amazing. We play this game in Ramadan where we give them something we cook in one of our plates and they have to return the plate but don't really want to give us an empty plate back...so they fill it with something and add another plate - then when we return the plate to them, we can't have it be empty, so again, we fill it. This sounds confusing but it's a good game. I love Muslims. Well, most of them. Alhamdulillah.

Friday, October 14, 2005

You like my Biodata? B-I-O-D-A-T-A

Check this video out. It's nuts! (not to mention addictive) In other news: today, for the first time, it was cold enough for me to see my breath when I blew out...waiting for the bus in the evening. It was awesome - although I'm sure the other people waiting for the bus thought I was maniacal because I kept blowing out and staring at my breath. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Argument

Incapacity to show - incapable. Meaning I have not the ability to. Inside me, I burn incinerating myself, I hold on to you and the Pressure is contained. You're always right. A symphony of explosions: Music fills my ears. My shadow climbs to places unknown to you Once upon a time. I write with all my anger. But my words are weak, reaffirmed. I can lie. I'm never really sure - I had nothing to begin with. But I'm still incapable. Incapable. If I show nothing, I am nothing. Dried flowers, memories of you living and breathing. a fragrance too strong.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Quake rocks Pakistan, India

Ya Allah...An earthquake of a 7.6 magnitude hit Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Kashmir today. The death toll has reached 18,000 so far - 17,000 in Kashmir. Who knows how much that number is to be multiplied in the coming days and weeks...an article. SubhanAllah, out of the middle of nowhere. May Allah make it easy for them and their families and bestow upon them His Mercy, Compassion, and forgiveness. Or think ye that ye will enter paradise while yet there hath not come unto you the like of (that which came to) those who passed away before you? Affliction and adversity befell them, they were shaken as with earthquake, till the messenger (of Allah) and those who believed along with him said: When cometh Allah's help? Now surely Allah's help is nigh. (2:214) Verily we belong to Allah, and to Him we shall return.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Gates of Paradise are Opened...

Ramadan Mubarak to all of you who will start fasting on Tuesday. And an early Ramadan Mubarak to those fasting on Wednesday. I haven't posted anything of much use on my blog lately, so I decided to post this piece I wrote for The Muslim Link... There's Something Special about Ramadan Narrated Abu Hurayra: Allah's Apostle said, "When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened." It's a wonderful thing, the excitement that Ramadan brings with it. Since I was young, my siblings and I would eagerly stay awake until late at night to see whether there was any news of the moon sighting for the start of Ramadan. There was something special about this month, even when we were too young to fast – a sort of peaceful atmosphere that prolonged and sincere worship tends to bring about. Narrated Abu Hurayra: Allah's Apostle said: "Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah's rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven." As I reflect, it seems that through all of the differences and disagreements that Muslims around the world have, the month of Ramadan is one of the common threads that unites us. There is nothing like the remarkable feeling of praying Taraweeh side by side with a brother or sister that you have never met before, yet still feel a sort of unexplainable bond with; shoulder to shoulder in one line, facing the same Creator. The bond that Islam creates between people is an amazing one, unique to this way of life. We are equal in our mosques and places of worship in the sense that we all leave our worldly possessions, deadlines, and mad schedules behind as we stand in line to pray in the same direction, for the same purpose. "Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other)." (21: 92) Through all the chaotic events that take place in Ramadan, Iftars are also one of the few times in the day when we can sit and interact with our fellow brothers, sisters, and families. "O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint" (2:183) Hunger, in itself, makes one feel humbleness; we are all fasting for the sake of Allah. It is He, in His Wisdom, who set the time of Iftar for us. Coming together at the end of the day, in humility, to break our fasts is part of the worship that we perform in Ramadan. And nothing brings believers' hearts and minds together more than collective worship does. It is only natural for a person to seek out people who believe in what he believes and there is comfort in knowing that in this country where Muslims are few and live far apart, we can still find friendship and reassurance among one another; and Ramadan is an opportune time to do so since Muslims are feeling just a little more kind, a little more generous, and a lot closer to Allah. "Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He Who is in heaven will show mercy upon you." (Abu Daud: Tirmidhi) We have shifted from a time where tribalism was the system by which society functioned, to a time where all are viewed as equals in the sight of Allah. There was a call, made by the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to all Muslims to replace former tribal affiliations with brotherhood and love for their fellow believers, whether or not they were from the same family. Think about it this way: your family does not end at mere blood relatives; it continues and encompasses all Muslims. And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided. (3:103) Therefore, take this month to build bridges between yourselves. In these blessed days, Allah, in all His Wisdom and Mercy, causes the rewards for our good deeds to be multiplied manifold. Take these most brilliant days of the year and perform one righteous and kind action for your brother or sister in Islam. The rewards will, God willing, be greater than we can imagine. The Believers are but a single brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy. (49:10)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Report

We had over 200 people show up to the dinner, which was a pretty good turnout. Okay, it wasn't too bad being one of the MCs. The other MC made it all too easy since he was making the corniest jokes ever...you know, like the "MSA" standing for the "Matrimonial Students' Association" and fob jokes. So all I had to do was make fun of him and the crowd enjoyed it (since they agreed with me). And yes, I took the opportunity to make fun of as many people as possible. Hey, the food wasn't too bad either...which is always a plus. I have to admit though, I was holding my bouncy ball in my hand the entire time; it really helped relieve the stress. In other news...It's October.

Friday, September 30, 2005

How uncharacteristic...

I'm going to be the MC at my university's Marhaba dinner tomorrow. I've decided not to prepare a speech and to just wing it. Although I was specifically told to try and not be as mean as I usually am...which will be quite difficult for me. I'll report on this tomorrow if I don't die of embarrassment.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Shopping carts: a bitter diatribe

I live near a great big Loblaws (for those of you fobs who don't know - it's a grocery store). So, what tends to happen is that most people in my building go shopping to buy all their lovely food items at ridiculously expensive prices and they don't realize that they won't be able to carry all their stuff home. So I come home today, and there's this Loblaws shopping cart in my hall. It's annoying because you know Loblaws' shopping carts - they're freaking huge. Like, what the heck? Please, have the common decency to return the shopping cart! So the security guards in our building have to wheel the carts back to the store. Hahaha sucks to be them. And I have never done this, I swear.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Autumn

The last day of Summer was Wednesday, September 21. Then yesterday night was windy and cold, which is a wonderful combination. Autumn has to be my favourite season. Followed by winter. Why does it feel like a Sunday afternoon?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I no longer see falafel in the same light...

My sis found this. Someone was passing this napkin around during a Eid party once. How corrupt, although it did make me laugh at that moment in time. In other news: my first week of school is over. As of yet, I have only bought the books for one of my courses. I find the best way to go about getting an education is to try to get as many things as possible for as cheap as possible. Therefore, I have exhausted my research skills trying to find books in every possible library in existence. The result: many hours of photocopying at an undisclosed location at the university (at which they tend to ignore the illegal photocopying of entire textbooks). But university isn't so bad. I mean, there are those breaks in between classes when you can go buy a hot and fresh falafel sandwich.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

First day of school

Patch of green on the highway grows yellow flowers delicate in my open palm bashful smooth discarded after moments, after a few tender strokes against my lips.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Nerd? Geek? Help!

Okay, something shocking has happened, my nerd ground has been shaken. This is all due to my reading an article in The Toronto Star last night. According to The Toronto Star, a geek follows "a single-minded pursuit of a particular passion to the exclusion of all other social norms." Now, with this in mind, I could certainly be a geek, since following social norms is not my forte. And I do pursue things in a single-minded way...I'm just thinking about all my bouncy ball posts. Oh my God, I am a geek. Because of this newly discovered evidence, I was having a hard time deciding whether to define myself as a nerd or a geek, so I resorted to checking dictionary.com for my answer... Nerd n. Slang: A foolish, inept, or unattractive person. Geek n. Slang: A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy. I just asked my little sister which I should choose. She then promptly replied "nerd, because you're unattractive." Nerd it is. Just for kicks: the word nerd, undefined but illustrated, first appeared in 1950 in Dr. Seuss's If I Ran the Zoo: "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo And Bring Back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!"

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

this is to be

I can't sleep so I've decided to post one of my very favourite poems: this is to be by Peggy Dragisic ahhh... this is to be pregnant with sun every limb fruit-full satisfied heavy this is to be golden, not Midas metal but apricot taut and tender stuffed with light I have harvest babies apricot burnished babies russet apple gleaming chestnut babies winter-sown summer-grown harvest babies optimistic babies in disregard of brunette genes to come out so copper coloured as if to say Mom mind's gloom's quite absent in body's womb there, Mom, it's all sun four eyes across the picnic table all blue two round bad and merry two long in tangled shadows two noses, mouths, four ears, legs, arms, twenty fingers! twenty toes! beyond all arithmetic love-stuffed cells of aweful life uncountable I had to do a presentation on this in my poetry course last year. So of course, I have read this poem hundreds upon hundreds of times, liking it more after each reading.

Monday, September 05, 2005

All Pink

Alhamdulillah my oldest brother got married yesterday (finally)! Here's a picture of his wedding cake: Before: After: Edit: I felt strongly that I should post the "after" picture of the cake too. There were a lot of comments on how my brother is totally whipped. I mean, the entire wedding was pink - flowers, balloons, cake, napkins, confetti. Hahaha, I feel for my brother. But, Alhamdulillah it's good to know that he's married and he's happy. Two siblings in one summer is more than I had hoped for. I went out for a walk today...I was sitting under this tree and it was really windy. Other than the fact that a ladybug crawled up my shirt and I freaked out, it was actually quite lovely. Just being alone, sitting under a random tree for no reason. I just sat there thinking. I'm not sure how long I was there, but four buses went by (buses only come around every 25 minutes on Sundays). Tried to write in my grey notebook that I take everywhere. I wrote some jibberish and was satisfied. In other news, one of my dad's suitcases was recovered. Lets just say he brought some weird weird things in it. Sugar cane sitting on my counter! It tastes...like sugar. Liquid sugar. How odd. That's definitely something my dad loves about Egypt. One of the few few things :)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It's September

My sisters and dad got home last night from Egypt, tired and without luggage. Yeah, Air Canada lost their luggage. That would be pretty funny except they bought me some stuff which also got lost. Bummer. But my sister did show me some pictures of her wedding, which were amazing. They were joking about how my extended family was like an army (they bought the food for the wedding, set everything up, and took pictures). So, after fajr today, I wanted to go back to sleep, but those three humans kept bothering me: "Asmaa, where are my keys?" "Asmaa, who called me when I wasn't here?" "Asmaa wake up!" - and the like. Damn jet lag. On top of all this, my sister is watching Sesame Street now. I have the sudden urge to mangle something. But this feeling is overridden by my desire to eat cookies. In other news, it's September...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Like a symphony in my mouth. A bad symphony

I made oatmeal cookies today. I tasted them, they tasted confusing. They tasted like popcorn.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Calm Before the Storm

This past week has felt so ridiculously calm that I'm beginning to wonder if I'm on the verge of something massive. There's always a calm spell before anything major happens in life... Look back on your life at everything that has happened to you and your family, all the milestones that stand out in your memory. Are you looking back? Good. Now that's exactly the opposite of what's happening to me at this very moment. I'm living during all the middle stuff which you usually delete from your memory because it's of no consequence. Oh well. The calm before the storm. The only question that remains is what exactly the storm has in store...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Dilemma

I want to be famous so I can be humble about being famous. What good is my humility when I am stuck in this obscurity? David Budbill

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mar, you're the first one

My sister got married today. I talked to her afterwards, well - more like screamed for joy at the top of my lungs over the phone to the point where miscellaneous relatives and guests (who could hear me apparently) started questioning my sanity. It hit me pretty hard, my sister being married. She's the first one out of all my siblings to be married. I was really happy, I don't know if I was ever as happy as when I talked to her. It was basically a big cry-fest. It made me realize so much. None of this could have happened if it were not for the Mercy and Will of Allah (swt). I mean, only He had the ability to make it happen that two people from two different continents would meet and just fit. SubhanAllah. May Allah keep them both on the straight path and give them all the imaginable happiness in this world and the next. Ameen. There's a full moon tonight - so I said to it, raabi wa rabuk Allah, My lord and your lord is Allah.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Rain

Do you hear the rain? I want to turn off the computer and call you to tell you how it is raining in the green centre of the day, late afternoon thundering open like heartbreak - like we imagine - but you are another illusion - so I keep on typing. Malca Litovitz

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Irony aboard Egypt Air

My sister, now in Egypt, has instructed me to post her personal reflections on my blog - assuming that people may obtain some kind of amusement from reading this. As I read it, I felt an inch of relief that I didn't have to take this trip. Ignore the grammatical errors, I am not an editor. Irony aboard Egypt Air 1. continuous reminders that smoking is prohibited, along with threats of alarms sounding should u choose to smoke inside the lavoratory. Why then, one may ask, is there an ashtray inside the washroom, complete with a picture of a cigarette on it? What the hell? its kind of like, yo, dont smoke but look, its a long flight, you're egyptian, im egyptian...*wink wink* 2. Random guy who randomly selects random carry-on baggage to inspect. One can only imagine the boredom that he suffers. Why else would a flight attendant feel the urge to make himself feel and look important? 3. Creepy Egyptian flight attendants. What makes them creepy? They are egyptian-looking men. Enough said. 4. An instructional and safety video equipped with state of the art graphically created arab man. As he models proper procedure, one becomes quite disturbed by his protruding belly, overgrown moustache, and why oh why does this arab man have a thick unibrow?? (Asmaa interrupting: Why must he have a unibrow? It is the law of nature that Arab men must have unibrows. If this was not the case, the world just might not revolve properly around its axis)

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...Boom!

I hate listening to people argue with one another. You'd think that if I wasn't involved in the argument, it wouldn't matter to me...but it really bothers me. In fact, it's just painful. an·ger n. A strong feeling of displeasure or hostility.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Shootings claim two lives...

The group of friends had just left the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Sherbourne St. in downtown Toronto after enjoying its weekly reggae music and hip hop night. They were heading to a car parked on a nearby street just before 4 a.m. yesterday, when a man came up to them and fired several shots. Two men died and another was hurt. Police don't believe the gunman knew the victims. What they do know is that guns have been used in more slayings this year than in all of 2004. Ali Mohamud Ali, 19, died instantly in the shooting early Monday near Homewood Ave. and Maitland Pl. A 20-year-old man was also hit. Friends tried to drive Loyan Mohammed Ahmed, 23, to a nearby hospital. A few blocks away, near Bloor and Jarvis Sts., they waved to police for help. An ambulance came but paramedics weren't able to save him For full article, click here It turns out, my brother went to high school with Loyan Mohammed Ahmed, one of the victims of this shooting. He was such a nice guy, he always used to say salaams to us and hang out around our building with his friends. Inalillahi wa ina ilayhi raji'un. This is very sad. Edit: There's another article about him in today's Toronto Star. You hear about people getting shot all the time, especially in Toronto. But you never think it's going to happen to someone you know. His picture was in the paper today. And I was thinking, he was here just a few days ago, and now he's just gone. May Allah grant him forgiveness. "He it is Who gives life and causes death. And when He decides upon a thing He says to it only: "Be!" and it is." (Ghaffir: ayah 68)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Confusion

Everything's crazy right now. I pretty much packed for my sister since she is severely disabled when it comes to making decisions. Her: Asmaa, what should I wear on the plane? Me: Who cares? You're going to the ghetto. She's stilling thinking about what to wear. She was so desperate, she actually asked me for one of my bummy shirts. And no one wears my bummy shirts but me. The flight is leaving at 5pm. Technically, they should be at the airport right now, but you know Egyptians. So it's Air Canada until Montreal, then Egypt Air until Cairo. It's a pretty easy trip; last time we had to stop in Italy (everything there is crazy expensive - damn euros). Right now, my mom bought some nuts from Loblaws... My little sister: why do you want nuts? My mom: because I'm nuts. Hahahaha. (Please note that my mother is not nuts, this was just a joke) Edit: alright, they're gone now. My dad and two older sisters. It's so empty now. Not used to this emptiness.

Monday, August 08, 2005

It's Gone from Light to Grey

My stomach ties itself up into knots so tight that I can hardly breathe. My sister is getting married sometime next week. In Egypt. Except that I'm not going with her. I'm not going to be at my sister's wedding. No matter how many times I say it, it just doesn't seem real. One half of me is just depressed, the other half is full of anger at the circumstances that happen to prevent me from going. I know that in the scheme of things, it really isn't that big of a deal, but I can't seem to get over this. I guess I have learned something about myself in recent days: when I feel something, I really feel it. It somehow feels juvenile to cry about something that I can't change.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Nothing!

Safiyyah of SAFspace has asked me: What does your blog fail to tell about you? My complex answer: nothing, if you look closely. I'm not that complicated. I mean, there are two loves in my life: one being chocolate, the other being chocolate cake. You might think that there is something deeper, something intellectual and amazing about me. Well, you're wrong. But, to answer the question fairly, the following is a list of things that I haven't yet mentioned about myself in my blog: 1. I enjoy peanut butter 2. I find solace when writing on my blog. 3. I am a terrible liar. I can't lie for beans (well, maybe for kidney beans...) 4. There's a war going on in my head and I'm not sure who's winning. I always wonder, am I crazy, or is everyone like this? 5. I've had writer's block for so long now. It kills me not to write, even though I am not excellent at it. 6. I hate it when people criticize me, but I don't let on. 7. I've got spaces between my teeth, so I've literally been told "Asmaa, your teeth match your face." So I figure that I must look spaced out most of the time. This is not The End.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Not Without Passion

On July 13th I peered at a blank page, frightened at what would happen after it was filled. What comes next? Blank that I can't quite feel. A blank page is like my soul: empty until filled by random thoughts that define and categorize. Signs missed. Miracles experienced during the short duration of this life. Rock bottom, to freed mind. Transitions, not the glasses. I can sew, but cannot thread these words into a coherent piece of writing. Insults and anger will not suffice to keep me off track. I have a purpose in this life. Only He knows it. Apostrophe now: Show me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Eulogy

Today at camp, I banged my knee rather hard when I was running after the kids. It hurt like heck but I figured crying in front of them wasn't an option. So I had some candy instead. The fact remains that I can't bend my knee at all and probably should have an X-ray, but, Candy. I have lost something today, and miss it more than I ever thought I would. Our car, which was almost totalled at the mosque some two weeks ago. It's been with our family for 12 years. So my dad decided we shouldn't repair it and just buy another car instead. So we did. I mean, I grew up in that car. The bad and the good was all in that car. It's like a member of our family. It probably sounds pretty stupid, but I don't care. Now that I think about it, the car reminds me of my dad: grey and worn at the edges, but the sturdiest thing I have ever seen.

Friday, July 22, 2005

A Baby! And Other Miscellaneous Children

I have a new cousin named Yaseen! He was born yesterday in Ohio, like a month too early, but he and his mom are doing well, Alhamdulillah. He was born the day before his dad's birthday - what an amazing birthday present! :) Since I've had some complaints about my blog being too plain (yes, some nerds actually complained), I'm adding some pictures. This week, the students at the summer camp I'm working at built model Islamic cities. Here are some pictures from my class's city: Welcome to Honeybee Islamic city...prepare to be amazed. This is the mosque built by the girls in my class (they named it "Masjid Noor" but we all know they wanted to name it Nugget Mosque). The architects celebrate their work. Another angle of our Islamic city (without those children obstructing the view) This is the energy I must deal with on a daily basis. Frightening, isn't it? Oh, I introduced the kids to my bouncy ball. Now it's yet another thing bouncing off the walls.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Small Acts of Kindness

"Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He Who is in heaven will show mercy upon you."(Abu Daud: Tirmidhi) My car practically got totaled today at the mosque. We came out of the mosque at the end of the prayer to find our car in amazingly bad shape: the two doors on the driver's side were totally crushed. We panicked of course, since the perpetrator was nowhere to be found. Luckily, a woman had seen the guy who hit our car, and she approached us with this information. The guy (who was driving a truck) denied ever hitting our car, even though our car's paint was on his truck! The thing that made me happy was that this woman stuck around even though she didn't have to. Just because it was the honest thing to do. Which got me thinking, setting aside your own interests, when was the last time you did something for someone else just because it was the right thing to do? I'm not talking about saving someone's life here, I'm talking about the small acts of kindness that people remember. Like when the cashier gives you a bit too much change, do you go back? Or when someone's carrying heavy bags, do you wait and hold the door open for them? These are the things people remember. When someone holds open a door, or gives up a seat on the bus, it's an act that fills the person on the receiving end with a kind of satisfaction and a feeling that they'd like to reciprocate the act of kindness in some way. I mean, if someone gives you his seat on the subway, wouldn't you perhaps be happy enough to pass on some of that goodness to another person you meet that day? It'd be like a never-ending cycle of kindness. Which would be pretty cool. So, I'm waiting for the cycle to start. Maybe I should start it myself. As Anne Shirley would say "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it - yet."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Solace

Today I was called a "London bomber," to my face. I have to admit, I am pretty upset about this. I have this notion that Toronto is somehow a more tolerant place than other random towns or cities. About the London bombing event, a fellow blogger writes: "I feel humiliated before the non-Muslim public – and before my non-Muslim friends." I must respectfully disagree. I am not humiliated. The cowards that committed this act of terror aren't members of my family, I don't know them, and I have nothing to do with them or their beliefs. I didn't commit any crimes. Although I am against the horrible event that took place last week, I adamantly refuse to apologize for something I had no hand in doing. You know, people aren't as ignorant as we think. I mean, I'm pretty sure the man who called me a London bomber knew I didn't have anything to do with it. He only wanted to insult me. "Whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Qur'an 2:38)

In the Absence of the Sun

In the Absence of the Sun by Nauman Abbasi I love God for all that He's done That I'll pray on my knees In the absence of the sun On little pebbles and rocks That deliver my legs sharp pains While each drop hits down on me Soaking me in the pouring rain I'll humble myself in front of God And enjoy every moment I partake With my clothes drenched to never dry Yet my faith won't waver or shake With the elements against me With desires to fulfill my obligation In the rain with lightning pain On my knees down in prostration All for the sake Of fulfilling my duty to my Lord For the One that I love and worship And for the One that I do adore My inconvenience is insignificant For the reward that I aspire for I'll pray in the rain if I must So let it pour, let it pour.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

If You Were Only One Inch Tall...

I'm a camp counsellor at an Islamic summer camp. Yep, the whole deal: whistle hanging from neck, running shoes, and "I don't see a straight line! No budding!" I know some of you didn't think that "Asmaa" and "camp counsellor" could be combined in one sentence, since I seemingly have no nurturing capabilities. But it's working, kind of. The boys in my grade kill me though, they're so misbehaved... There's one boy in my class, Hasan, who's one of the rowdiest among them. And when I say rowdy, I mean "running around screaming kicking and yelling" rowdy. But today, his brother, who has Down Syndrome, came to the camp as well. So Hasan held his brother's hand and took care of him, and played with him for the entire time, calmly. He also protected him from unwanted stares and jokes. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. I read this with my class today. tee hee. One Inch Tall If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school. The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool. A crumb of cake would be a feast And last you seven days at least, A flea would be a frightening beast If you were one inch tall. If you were only one inch tall, you'd walk beneath the door, And it would take about a month to get down to the store. A bit of fluff would be your bed, You'd swing upon a spider's thread, And wear a thimble on your head If you were one inch tall. You'd surf across the kitchen sink upon a stick of gum. You couldn't hug your mama, you'd just have to hug her thumb. You'd run from people's feet in fright, To move a pen would take all night, (This poem took fourteen years to write-- 'Cause I'm just one inch tall). Shel Silverstein

Friday, July 01, 2005

Lines

Nothing new to report except that I've been thinking about family relationships a lot lately. Mostly dysfunctional ones, but relationships nonetheless. I'm also Looking For a White Elephant. Started working at a summer day camp this week, it's "proper" fun, as those crazy brits would say. My thoughts: "I can't believe I'm getting paid for this." Anyways, I thought I'd post a poem that I wrote last year, some of you have already read it. This poem started as a short story, and morphed into what it is now, a poem and piece of prose at the same time - proem? It's not that good, but it's something I've written that is important to me. (and surprisingly, it's got nothing to do with nerds, cereal boxes, or bouncy balls.) I have wanted to edit this poem many times, but when I write something in a moment, I know exactly what I mean and how I want to say it. Once that moment is gone, the poem becomes its own entity, untouchable. Naive, I know. Lines I fidgeted in my seat inside the plane, and looked down at the vast sands of Egypt. The beauty of this wasteland was shocking; who knew a bare land such as this could be beautiful in its own right? As I stepped off the plane and into this intense heat, I couldn't help but wish I was back in Toronto, where the heat wasn't suffocating, and the language familiar. Making the trip from Cairo to Alexandria was exhausting: A five hour trip on a crowded bus with the same annoying Arabic songs repeating themselves on the speaker. We arrived at our apartment late at night, jet-lagged and hungry. The days passed and we entertained relatives I remembered from our last visit, ones I did not, and some I didn’t even know existed. I saw my nephew for the first time. We served our guests tea in small cups without handles; I burned myself several times. I liked waking from sleep to the piercing echoes of the Adhan being reciting by Muadhins from several different masajid. We didn't need a prayer chart. Friday prayers were crowded; people prayed in the streets and the markets were empty, shops were deserted during the one hour period on Fridays. There was an internet cafe near where we were staying I talked to my friend Sara for half an hour once. And I showed her the crowded Egyptian streets outside the cafe with a webcam. Most men in Egypt smoke; in cafes, in malls, in the street, and wherever they please, making it hard for me to breathe. My grandfather smokes too. The nights passed quickly, and our flight date quietly inched closer. I started packing my suitcase the day before we were to leave. The next day we were typically very late and almost missed our bus. We jumped onto the bus to Cairo, waving to cousins and miscellaneous relatives that happened to be around at the time, and then five hours later boarded our plane with heavy hearts. In a while we were home; tired, sad, and irritable, but home. Though it has been a while since my return, the image that remains vivid in my mind is that of my two-year-old cousin, Mu'awiya, being knocked out in a matter of minutes by the intense sweetness of a bite of basbousa. I remember the white sands of Sidi Crere sliding apart under my weight and making way for my feet. And the blue blue water splashing against the shore in intimidating waves, wiping the uppermost layer of sand into its blue vastness, reminding me of how God wipes away sins when He forgives. I guess, maybe I just miss the chaos that comes along with an enormous family. As I live and experience, I add to the puzzle that is my life, continuously forming a more complex and complete picture of who I am. My trip added a piece to the ever-growing puzzle, but there are still so many pieces that have not been placed. I feel there is so much of life to live, yet so little, for it is God who has decided our fates and when we will leave this life. Some evidence of my journey does remain: a solitary small jar filled with softly coloured seashells sitting on my shelf, and a stack of photographs. Frozen images in my mind.

Friday, June 24, 2005

All-Bran

Can someone please enlighten me as to why William Shatner's face is on the All-Bran cereal boxes? It's just floating there. Getting fibre has never been so irritating.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Let me not

The moon followed me home today, 'round the many streets and bends we drove by, it stood not changing. It was a strange beige-brown colour. And I saw the man in the moon. Don't know why, but it reminded me of this: Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken. Shakespeare, first half of Sonnet 116 1. Have an exam in a couple of days, haven't started studying. 2. Rush of summer weddings knocks me off my feet. 3. I haven't bounced my bouncy ball since the day before yesterday. 4. Starting work as camp counsellor next week. 5. I haven't felt like using the sheep emoticon on MSN lately. End. I guess.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Blogs are...

A fellow blogger writes: "Blogs are our most inner thoughts that linger in our mind, to a certain extent, in our hearts. Some of us express ourselves better when we write and some of us blog so that from time to time we can always go back and trace our thoughts and find out what our thought process was about an event." My innermost thoughts of the moment: where is my dollarama bouncy ball and why am I not bouncing it?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?

There has been a recent surge of emails and articles written about a Somalian girl who apparently turned into a rat because she was disrespecting the Qur'an. So I received one of these emails, which was rather humourous (it included a picture of the "morphed" girl). Needless to say, I had a chuckle, ignored the email, and went on with my life. The next day, a girl that had received the article replied to all the recepients of the original email...I began to read the words that she had written in response to this ridiculous forward: "You need to have your facts straight" (at this point, I felt glad that I wasn't the only person to think it was ridiculous). BUT then I continued reading the email... "You need to have your facts straight, and you need to read the article, the girl is not a Somali girl but an Arab. It happened in Cuman. Next time send reliable information sister." "Oh. Those darn A-rabs. I'm gonna get me ma' gun..."

Friday, June 17, 2005

Lines

My massive Oxford was once a temporary home for the fading petals of small flowers and leaves to be pressed into bookmarks. Words left unlinked, unchained, loose: marched straight out of the dictionary and demanded to be memorized! Like the sun which burns me, even through this thick shade. She, too, demands something from me: my pale skin. I see pages left unturned upon my writing desk. Leaves bookmarks no longer needed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

And You Thought "Asmaa" Meant "Names"

So we were renewing our passports today, and I was looking at my birth certificate...I noticed that it was dated one full month after I was born. So I asked my mom why this was so, and apparently, it took my parents one month to name me. (I was going to be "Khadijah" or "cawthar.") They were also concerned about the literal meaning of the names they were to choose. "Asmaa" means "nice" or "beautiful." (At least that's what I'm told.) It's satisfying to know that my parents put a lot of thought into naming their children. Anyways, I'm glad they named me Asmaa. Otherwise, it would say "Posted by Cawthar" at the end of this post. And something out of nowhere: There's a bizarre recurrence that happens in my household. Here's how it goes: 1. It's night and I am sitting at the computer. I hear someone scream. 2. My (older) sister comes running down the stairs - there's an insect in her room. 3. "quick Asmaa, come help me kill it!!" 4. I leave the computer and go to her room. (at this point in time, I notice that it's a tiny little thing walking around.) 5. The insect lodges itself somewhere under a crack before we can grab a shib-shib (uhh..slipper, that is). 6. We never find it. 7. My sister sleeps on the couch in the living room.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Life and Times of Asmaa (for the past day)

Yesterday our car broke down on the highway. I think it was because it was really hot so the battery got fried. Anyways, so there we were after Jumuah prayer, stranded on the shoulder of the highway, drinking apple juice from those boxes (don't you love those juice boxes? Reminds me of my youth >:D). We got out of the car because we were too scared someone was going to hit us from the back - and then we would likely die. You know what was odd? People kept beeping at us when they passed. I couldn't figure out why...it's not like we were stopped on the highway to have a picnic - although that would have been nice, it was refreshingly breezy. Long story short, our car had to get towed, it was hot, it was scary. And we had to get some thingamajig replaced. Oh well. After all, TTC is "The Better Way." Hmmmph! I went to Scarborough for an interview today and it took 2 hours. I did get the job, but I don't know if it's worth the two hour commute. I'm not trying to complain. Actually, I am. I'm beginning to annoy myself (i.e. "To cause slight irritation by troublesome, often repeated acts"). The End.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Random Title of the Day: "Goat Meat"

I'm posting this in the wee hours of the night. Doesn't "wee" remind you of the little pig that went "wee wee wee all the way home"? Anyways, so I had this incredible urge to paint a mural on the wall of my bedroom. It was going to be a fantastic mural...really bright and lovely and dark and deathly all in one. And then I realized my mom wouldn't be all that pleased. So I didn't. But I did go through my old papers and stuff from ages ago. It was a little embarrassing to read what I wrote when I was in grade six and seven. "Like, oh my god, life is so unfair" and all that jazz. It makes me feel mature to read my old childish stuff. And then I read my blog and that feeling goes away.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Mercy and Pain

Abu Hurayra narrates that the Prophet said: "When Allah created creation, He wrote a book, which is with Him above the Throne, saying: My mercy overcomes My wrath." Every relationship we are a part of will bring us pain. Whether it's with our parents, siblings, spouse, employer...all relationships will be strained or put to the test during difficult times. In our relationship with Allah (SWT), we will also experience pain - except the pain that comes from Allah is different than other pain which is inflicted upon us in our relationships. According to The Names and Attributes of Allah, by sheikh umar sulaiman al-ashqar, one of Allah’s names is "al-mubtalee" or, "the One who tests with trials." Out of His ultimate Mercy and forgiveness, Allah gives us so many chances to come back to Him. He puts us through tests in order for us to realize our errors...and to be purified just like gold is purified by intense heat. Just because Allah tests us, it doesn't mean He is punishing us for doing something wrong. It is through our actions and reactions to the tests He puts forth, that we determine whether we will be among the successful or not. Allah knows us better than we know ourselves, He knows our weaknesses and our strengths. Allah gives us painful tests in order to bring us closer to Him, to purify us, to cleanse us of our sins. So next time you feel you're going through something difficult, remember that this is your chance to turn back to Allah and ask for forgiveness. "Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous (3:133)" Allah is The All-seeing, The all-hearing, The Just. And so, the only relationship that you can count on through thick and thin, is the one you have with Allah. So don't screw it up. And when you're going through a tough time, don't forget that "With every hardship there is ease, with every hardship there is ease." (94:5-6)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Streetcars and the Case of the Confuzzled Girl

I was on the streetcar today...it was on Spadina, driving through China Town. So the streetcar driver starts singing something like this into the mic/PA system, so all the passengers could hear: "China Town. The best place to go... to buy rice and fish Is anyone here cooking?" WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? I was beyond puzzled. It wasn't that the man had a displeasing voice...the most disturbing thing about the situation was that the driver was clearly Arab. I have to admit though, I laughed. But honestly, can't I ride the TTC in peace? Of course, there are those times where the bus driver decides to park the bus in the middle of the route and walk into Tim Hortons to get a coffee. Now that is truly annoying. Random fact: Did you know that streetcar drivers make $50,000. (And that's STARTING salary). Should I just quit school and aim to be a streetcar driver?!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Misplaced thoughts...

We live in a very individualistic society. We're trained to think only of ourselves, to fulfill our own needs and desires. I've been noticing recently that many, if not most of my actions are to benefit myself alone. I feel my contribution to my community is lacking. So, I was thinking, if I die tomorrow, what will people remember me for? And the answer that I came up with, wasn't what I was hoping for. Does being uncultured make me less of a person? I went to the library with my friend yesterday and she seemed to have it all figured out - the types of books, music, and people that she's interested in. She gets really riled up about books and music. She was genuinly excited about getting a Toronto Public Library card (because she lives in Mississauga and is only eligible for one since she started university in Toronto). It's not to say that I'm not interested in culture. I mean, I like books and some music, but I sort of hover around the cultural periphery and take what I am given, not really venturing any further than I have to. I just don't know. I miss my family in Egpyt. For absolutely no reason, here's a picture of my nephew who lives in Egypt: (say Masha'Allah) My sister just called me...she's coming home in 20 minutes. I have to end this post now, for I have been summoned to make hummus for her. And put some pita bread in the oven so it's hot when she gets here. Sigh. It's been a pleasure. Thank you and goodnight.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

what.

My little sister, who loves me very much, wrote this to me today: Repugnant sister, I hate you so much that every day I almost rip my hair out considering you are still alive. Whenever I hear your uninviting name, I hurl as I conceptualize your displeasing face into my memory. When you return to our household, your discourteous appearance makes me weak-kneed. I consistently assume to myself that you will recuperate, but never. All I can verbalize is, stay away from me. Your pulchritudinous sister, Nusa

Friday, May 27, 2005

Sarcasm. To the Nth degree

Hello world. I have a friend (yes, I can hear all of you saying "oh really" and "wow, I didn't know" and "that's really great progress, Asmaa." Shutup.) whom I have named so eloquently, hajface. Hajface is as sarcastic as I am, if not more so. It's funny because I never really thought there would ever be any living human as sarcastic as I, until she showed up. Haj, I know you're queen of sarcasm...but, I still officially have the "Queen of Nerds" title. (please don't ask how it became official, just trust me on this one.) We are the ones who bring entertainment to boring MSA meetings. It is we who can make miserable students smile for a moment before they plunge back into their failure fears. But, I've heard that sarcasm is the cheapest form of humour...humour of the poor man. Yes, I have heard this. Well NO MORE. That's right, you heard me. NO MORE SARCASM FOR ASMAA. I've become the one who works so hard to entertain others, that I myself become bereft of substance. I guess not many people take me seriously anymore. Which is why I'm going to stop being sarcastic. Forever. Ahhh who am I kidding. If I have to be a cheap poor guy, SO BE IT. It's been a pleasure. Thank you and good night.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Random thoughts of the day

They say small things amuse small minds, but I disagree. I am amused by small things. Specifically, bouncy balls and playdough. Come on, who doesn't find bouncy balls to be entertaining? It's amazing fun! And, uhh...here are some more things that amuse me: I crack myself up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dandelions

I remember when I used to think dandelions were really pretty flowers. My sibs and I would pick dandelions for our mom...of course, she feigned pleasure :D I still think dandelions are pretty. I don't care that they're weeds. I STILL LOVE THEM. That's all for today. ahem.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm happy, I'm relaxed

You'll either pee on yourself watching this... or you will want to kill yourself. http://www.putfile.com/media.php?n=Laughing-yoga&width=640

Friday, May 13, 2005

a haiku

I wrote some quiet words in the dark when all were asleep. And He heard.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sponge Babies

This is a little less serious than some of my previous posts, but it's extremely cute. I really couldn't help it.

So Many Gems, so Little Time

Another gem: The patience that you develop by establishing salah (prayer) is greater than you think. When Salah becomes a major part of your day - sort of like anchoring your life, everything else seems to fall into place.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Breach of Covenant

The Al-Maghrib class is really interesting. It feels awesome to be around so many Muslims. So many beards...so many hijabs... And I'm learning a lot about myself, man...it's not only tafseer! Here's a gem: Fear and hope in Allah must come in a combination. You must never lose hope in Allah's Mercy, yet not rely so much on this mercy that you commit many sins. I'm learning how bad of a Muslim I actually am.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

My job

I started my full-time job today. I quit my full-time job today. [Insert reasons here] InshaAllah it will be replaced by something more useful to me.

I Love to Laugh

It's May. The weather is beautiful. I love it when it rains! I was waiting all of April for showers but they only came in May :D I guess May's flowers will come in June... I just got a full-time job that I'm starting tomorrow, InshaAllah. I have to wake up really early though, which I'm not used too. Good-bye to noon breakfasts. Sigh. But Alhamdulillah! Oh, I was on the subway today and a bunch of guys came on the train and stole an advertisement that was up. They just popped it out of its frame. It was rather humourous...especially because it was a very stupid ad, and I was most glad to have it out of my line of sight. ha ha ha ha I love to laugh.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Smells from the kitchen...

My supervisor wrote this. hehehe Apr 29 2005 9:09PM You know how smells from the kitchen travel easily throughout the office? Ya, well, with this in mind, we ask that the strong smelling foods, particularly fish, are not microwaved for dinner. We all like fish (for food, sport or companionship) and we all need our Omega3 fatty acids but an office should smell like carpets and computers not Carp. Thanks.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Unless They Change Themselves

We are so concerned with the state of affairs in which we, Muslims, find ourselves today. Who wouldn't be? But for some reason we are blind to the reason that we're failing in every way possible. We are not failing materially – on the contrary, many Muslims in North America are accomplished, educated people. We're failing in our faith. Perhaps, we say, it is more difficult for us to practice our Islam in this society. But that's only because we are weak. And I remind myself first, because I have great faults that I am trying to rectify. We cannot change the state we are in – only God can do this. And as God says in the Qur'an: "God will not change the state of a people unless they change themselves" [13:11]. This doesn't mean complaining or holding protests - although this is important. It means, getting closer to Allah. It means being educated in our religion, knowing truth from falsehood and following the straight path. If we were truly following the path of the rightly guided, we wouldn’t be in the trouble we are in today. We wouldn't be vulnerable, floundering excuses for Muslims. People underestimate the effect of faith on our lives and on our conditions. It is difficult, no doubt. But our struggle against the challenge of our environment is our jihad – perhaps the reason that the prophet called us his "brothers" that "will believe in me without ever having seen me." And speaking of us, said "There shall come to God some people on the day of resurrection whose light is like sunlight." Emerging on the day of resurrection with light on our faces, like sunlight – a dream we all have.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Selecting A Reader

First, I would have her be beautiful, and walking carefully up on my poetry at the loneliest moment of an afternoon, her hair still damp at the neck from washing it. She should be wearing a raincoat, an old one, dirty from not having money enough for the cleaners. She will take out her glasses, and there in the bookstore, she will thumb over my poems, then put the book back up on its shelf. She will say to herself, "For that kind of money, I can get my raincoat cleaned." And she will. Ted Kooser

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Strangers in this world

All a person is, is a shell. The only thing that can be seen is the outside - the inside is completely hidden; hidden from people you don't know, hidden from people you do know, even hidden from yourself. The mystery of what makes a person unique, is completely confuzzling. And so, am I a shell? As a Muslim, is that all people see? A hijabi's shell on the subway, walking downtown, going to classes. Hijab doesn't prevent people from judging me according to my appearance, although it should. All I know is that people stare, some are frightened, some amused, some just plain confused. It's a bit unnerving when I think about it - never really fitting in, even though I was born and raised here. There's some type of invisible line that seperates humans...we try to deny its existence, we try to imagine it away, but can't. And so you would think it unnerving to know that you can live out your life being an outsider. Being the "other". But read on: "Islam started strange, and will return as it began...thus, good tidings for the strangers" Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) And people began to ask him about these "Strangers" he had mentioned ... The Messenger of God said, "There shall come to God some people on the day of resurrection whose light is like sunlight." Then Abu Bakr said, "Are we the ones, O Messenger of God?" He said, "No, and you have much goodness, but they are the poor and the immigrants who will be gathered from the ends of the earth." Then he said, "Bliss to the strangers. Bliss to the strangers. Bliss to the strangers." Then it was said, "Who are the strangers, O Messenger of God?" He said, "Good people among many bad people. Those who will disobey them are more than those who will obey them." Strangers that the Prophet called "my brothers" and of whom he said: "They will believe in me without ever having seen me." And they continued to ask "Who are the strangers?" "They are those who follow my ways when my ummah is corrupt." "They are of those who will have moved away from their clans." "God will bring them together to join Jesus the son of Mary." SubhanAllah.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Testing 123 - can anybody hear me?

I'm afraid of many things: Dogs frogs an MSA meeting lack of heating (in winter) getting run over by a car walking too far getting caught in the rain becoming insane (if I am already not so) getting bad grades Anne of Green Gable's braids not checking my email for a day writing any kind of essay losing brain cells cheap hotels having to share my food getting sued And so these are my fears. Oh, I forgot one: engineers.