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


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


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


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.