Friday, December 29, 2006

Birthday Musings over a Jelly Donut (and a glass of milk)

Bismillah.

This jelly donut looks so round and white. Yum. I deserve this. I'm 21 today, so why not be 21 while eating a jelly donut and having a white mustache of sugar and milk?



Hmm, this jelly donut is kind of stale. Stupid Tim Hortons! "Baked fresh daily" my foot! I kind of feel stale too. 21 years and not much to show for it. Except some laugh lines around my mouth.



Yes, finally hit the jelly! What a sham - jelly donuts only have a tiny smidge of jelly. They should call them "jelly in the haystack" donuts. The rest is just stale pastry covered in powdery sugar that gets all over your face.



This jelly is starting to look like blood! Why am I so violent? Maybe 21 is a violent age. I mean, it's so old, I'm not ready to be 21! 21 means I'm going to expire soon. My best before date is coming! Stupid donut!



Okay, now I just feel like barfing. Donut overload :(



Okay just one last piece, I can do this! And I can do 21 without being scared. I can face it! Maybe.



Done. Hey...is that a boston cream?

Alhamdulillah.

Al-Hajju 'Arafah

Right now, like right right now, millions of Muslims are going towards and standing on the mountain of Arafah in Makkah. The same mountain that prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stood on and gave his last speech, his farewell sermon.

The pilgrims are walking to the mountain, some riding in cars, some riding buses, for the sole purpose of raising their hands, in the heat of the sun, to seek the forgiveness and mercy of God. I'm watching it live. And it has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

May Allah (Glory be to Him) forgive us with them, and give us the opportunity to make this journey of a lifetime.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Backbiting

I first saw this on Nabeel's blog and I was really disturbed by it. Though I have to admit, it's kind of brilliant and very effective. The Arabic near the end is a part of a verse from the Qur'an, translated as: "O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it. But fear Allah. For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful" (Qur'an 49:12).

Wow.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and think "this is not me"?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Word to the Weird

Maliha tagged me and now I comply, here: six weird things about me...dun dun dunnnn

Well, my whole blog is about me doing and saying weird things, so I suppose I'll have to conjure up some new crazy things about me that you didn't know before:

1. I love corny jokes. "So it's unfair that men only want to marry fair women, eh?" Get it...unfair, fair...when my friend told me that, I was on the floor! You know...like sitting on the floor. Hahaha okay I'll stop now.

2. I'm actually really really angry right now (like, hatred has engulfed me, my blood is boiling, etc.) even though I'm writing a humourous post. So I can be funny while being mad? I guess so.

3. Sometimes I can't speak. The words just don't come out properly. I'll be like "hey, can you pass me that thing? What's it called? YOU KNOW, THAT THING! GAH! I HATE LANGUAGE!" (meanwhile, it's just an apple or something).

4. I wear black a lot. When I'm feeling really crazy, I'll burst out the navy blue. So yeah, according to Arab standards I'm not very girly. In fact, I'm a man. All I need now is a beard.

5. People are always remarking about how weird I am, but when I ask them to give me specific weird things, they can't. Isn't that weird?

6. I'm turning 21 soon and I feel like I'm still 17. Maybe it's the fact that I always carry around at least 2 or 3 bouncy balls in my bag.

7. (I know I was only supposed to post 6, but...well...I'm weird.) I googled "weird" and I found this, and now I want it:



Weird, eh?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Scholarly Osmosis

Apparently I'm uber religious. And I'm also the female scholar of the area. Don't ask me how this happened, it just did.

I was talking to a friend of mine today and she was telling me about her grandfather who passed away. Then she paused and said "Allah yirhamo" (May Allah have mercy on him), and asked me "is that what I should say when I talk about someone who passed away?" And I replied "umm, yeah I guess so." And she says, "well, you're the religious one (pointing to my abaya), you would know."

So yeah, my abaya makes me know these things. It's like the cloth is infused with Islamic knowledge - once someone puts it on, BAM it's fatwa time!



If that's true, I wonder what school of thought Michael Jackson specializes in...

My kinda gym

Monday, December 11, 2006

Innocence (caution: mature subject matter ahead)

This story is disturbing and yet true. It is not for the sensitive, easily-offended individuals out there.

A friend told me that this happened to a friend of hers.

There was a man who went to pray in the mosque with his young son. While they were in prayer, the imam rose for the next rakah. Everyone followed. The young son was standing beside his father when he noticed something interesting infront of him. He noticed that as the man rose, his white galabiya (thobe) became lodged between his rear.

The young boy thought of helping this man, so he reached forward and innocently pulled out the galabiya from where it was stuck. Then he looked at his father. His father gave him a dirty look look to tell him that he had done something horribly wrong.

The young boy was surprised because he had simply intended to help the man praying infront of him. Then he thought of correcting his mistake by using simple logic...

He reached forward once again and with his tiny fingers proceeded to return the galabiya to where it was. Thats right. His small hands repeatedly poked the galabiya back inside. You can imagine the row of men snickering and laughing uncontrollably. Needless to say, that was the end of the Jama'a prayer as everyone in the back row began laughing hysterically at this sight. The imam had to stop the prayer.

The men then told the imam about what the young boy did. He of course joined in the laughter. And of course, the young boy was still confused.

Ah, the innocent minds of young babes.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Middle Child Syndrome

We went to the mosque today for a lecture on science in the Qur'an. So we arrived - a bit late, obviously.

We parked and everyone was getting out of the car, but since I was sitting in the back, I was the last to be able to exit. Alas, before I could exit, my sister swung the door shut and my dad promptly locked the car with his automatic remote locking thingy. They forgot I was in the car. The funny thing is that my sister turned around after a while, bewildered, and said "hey, where's Asmaa?"

This is what happens when you're the middle child.

Monday, December 04, 2006

more weird texts and some crazy matrimonials

Side note: I decided to put both these things in one post because they're equally stupid...

More text messages from a random sender. I'm scared.

4:29pm Warning! From the beginning of time man has yearned to destroy the sun. Now the hope lies with you! Stop that sun from its evil ways. Only you can save us all!

4:31pm Animal for thought: does having more humps make a camel feel more proud? How does a horse feel then for lacking humps? What about a donkey or a mule?

4:32pm Animal for thought: if dogs could talk would they complain about being leashed by their owners and the smell of their owners crotch?

4:35pm Relax. What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind!

4:37pm When feeling down just remember that people have stood in your way long enough. That's when you need to go to clown college!

4:39pm The lesson is: our God is vengeful! O spiteful one, show me who to smite and they shall be smoten!!!

4:43pm animal for thought: being eaten by a crocodile is just like going to sleep. In a giant blender

______________

Now, some matrimonials that I came across while reading Horizons Magazine. They made me laugh. And then I stopped laughing and I was just plain annoyed:

Sunni Pakistani Punjabi parents, both physicians, invite correspondence for their 31 years old MD daughter in final year of residency at prestigious university hospital. Seeking MD of similar background.

Pakistani Sunni Parents invite correspondence from an MD/DO for their daughter who was born and raised in the U.S. and is in her final year of residency in family practise.

37 year old, good-looking Pakistani Muslim, Sunni, (physician, U.S. citizen) looking for a beautiful girl between 25-30 years, preferably a Doctor's/Master's degree.

Sunni Muslim Indian parents from California incite correspondence for their 26-year-old son (MD, 2nd year medical resident at a prestigious university hospital) from a well-educated, fair, 20-26 year old muslimah of Indo-Pakistani origin.

My questions:

1. why are they all doctors?
2. why are they all Sunni and from South Asia?
3. why do the female doctors need to marry male doctors and vice versa?
4. why do ugly guys want to marry pretty "fair" girls?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

will you (arrange to) marry me?

This post comes in reaction to some ideas about arranged marriages that I've been hearing lately. It annoys me that people view this in such an ethnocentric way.

What the Western tradition holds true about love and marriage may work for some (though in general it really doesn't, considering the frightening divorce and single-parent rates in North America), but it doesn't work for others. The frustrating thing is that this sexually enamoured cultural system tries to force people into thinking that their way of acquiring love is THE only way. Well, it's not.

The idea of an arranged marriage is this big, scary monster in the eyes of the misinformed. But this is what an arranged marriage is, in my eyes: you get to know someone under a non-sexual pretence and within the correct boundaries (i.e. no crazy flirting or batting your pretty eyelashes at him, sorry girls).

It's being honest about commitment to a future spouse. Meeting someone with the intention of getting married forces you to be serious and to look at someone's good characteristics as well as their bad ones. You begin to admire and respect that person not for their attractiveness or charms, but because of their values and beliefs. And that's what geniune love and a lasting marriage is based on, in my opinion. And people can take as long as they need to be at ease with their decision to get married. That could be a month for one couple, or a year for another.

And when it comes to an "arranged" marriage, that's all it is: arranged. Someone "arranges" that you meet someone else. It's not a forced marriage to someone you can't stand. It's not something that should make you uncomfortable either. At the same time, it doesn't have to be "arranged." It could also happen that you become interested in someone because of his or her good qualities and then persue the interest in a good and well-intentioned way.

At the same time, I'm not saying that the Muslim way always works out perfectly. Quite the contrary; Muslims get divorced, too. Some crazy Muslim men batter their wives, too. And some severely messed up parents do force their children into marriages they don't want. And that's depicable. But these things have nothing to do with the Islamic notion of marriage. In fact, they're polar opposites.

In short, seeing arranged marriage as something barbaric is ridiculous. And the only reason people can't see beyond what is fed to them is that they won't allow themselves to.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fitting things to do on a Wednesday when you've only had one hour of sleep

a) Pretend to be Safiyyah Ally's sister.
b) Tell people that you are a white convert to Islam.
c) Laugh hysterically when a fob says "the backside of the room" when he really means "the back of the room."
d) Chase someone in the dark with a skirt on, while running past the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
e) Pretend to be Safiyyah Ally.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

fairy tale goodness

Once upon a time there was a girl and a cookie.

The girl longed for the cookie and pined after it night and day. Her thoughts were preoccupied with its beautiful round edges and yet jagged surface. The protruding chocolate chunks were the object of her insatiable desire. And the scent of cookie-goodness invaded her nostrils.

She decided that this was no way to live! Life was not worth the pain without the beautiful cookie in her possession. Thereupon, the girl seized the cookie with startling violence and crammed it into her mouth and grinned as the crumbs fell haphazardly onto her lap.

Once upon a time there was a brownie...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Annoying Text Messages: Part II

So I've gotten some more anonymous strange and unusual text messages recently. I've decided to keep a log of them on my blog whenever I get more:

November 10, 2006

3:02pm You Kicked my dog. You must now pay $29.99 for every bark she makes that sounds like a whoopee cushion. You must also give up a bone of yours to her.

3:04pm Warning! Excessive exposure to oxygenated air can cause one's lungs to start expanding and contracting! Be warned!

3:09pm Warning! Trix are for kids! Stop the rabbit from eating any at ALL COSTS! You will be compensated for all damages incurred by that rabbit.


3:10pm Warning! Robarts is under attack from literary books! Save the library by taking each book and throwing it out the window. Avoid hitting the squirrels.

November 13, 2006

12:22pm Warning! Your phone has been infected with the Timbuktu virus! To save your phone from damage submerge in water. Elexctrical sparks are normal.

12:26pm Warning! Aliens have landed in Malton! They bring strange spices, wear turbans and assault all humans with pungent odours! Beware!

I'm actually beginning to get irritated now.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Here I come to save the day...

My foolish, but rather talented friend drew this:

I have to admit, it's a pretty good depiction of me - especially my hijab covering half of the "A." Watch out shirkers, Asmaa's a-comin' to getcha!

Please note that Asmaa will also be willing to come and get individuals who bother and/or irritate her friends and loved ones. Elligibility for Asmaa's Super-powers will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Scary stuff...

Yeah so, I've just been informed that I answered my phone last night while I was asleep. This is what happened:

I went to sleep early because I was tired. And then my friend called me around midnight and apparently I actually answered the phone (though I have no memory of this fact). Since I sounded tired, she asked me "did I wake you up?" I said "no, it's okay, I was just getting ready to go to sleep." And then I promptly hung up on her.

Of course, she didn't know that I was sleep-talking to her. So she tried to call me back several times to no avail and ended up leaving a message on my phone. Apparently I also checked that message while I was asleep, and I saved it, too! And then I was listening to it tonight and I was bewildered because I had no recollection of this! This greatly perturbs me.

This isn't the first instance of sleep-talking either. I've said some strange and unusual things in my sleep...which I will not share at this moment. Why am I so scary? :(

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

new lows: reposted for the benefit of Toucan Sam

a) a bus driver speaking on his cell phone (boy do I feel safe!)

b) a couple making out on a rush-hour-packed subway car. Loudly. (Please get a room, you're causing my lunch to crawl up my stomach and into my throat.)

To be continued. Maybe.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cooties.

So, we all know the "boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" rhetoric. Recently, a certain someone who shall not be named for his own protection (or else some girls with large rocks may come after him), made a sad sad version of the opposite:

Other than the fact that it seems like this girl doesn't ever brush her hair, what a lame attempt. Clearly, this reinforces my previously held opinion that boys (in addition to being stupid) also have cooties. Only cooties could cause such delirious idiocy. Which explains my new button:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dumb things I did Today

1. I broke an egg. It was in my hand, then it was all over the floor. Not really sure what happened. 2. Burned some plastic on the stove. I was making eggs and I didn't realize that some plastic thing was touching the stove top. "Hey, what smells like burning plastic?" 3. Ate dinner when it was too hot, burning my tongue. 4. I gave up trying to change the time on my cell phone because I think that it's evil, and I don't want to mess with that. 5. Posted a list of dumb things I did on my blog. To be continued.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mischievous persons

I was sitting all peacefully at school yesterday, just doing some reading before class like a nice girl. Out of nowhere, my phone does that little vibrate thing that tells me I have a text message. This is what it said: "You have 20 minutes to move your car." I did't know who sent it, so I was puzzled for a moment. And then I started to panic...my thought process went something like this: I don't have a car that I have to move (or, do I? And since when?!) Maybe it's actually my dad's car that they want moved - but why would they contact me? And who are "they"?! And what do they want from me?! About 20 seconds later, I got another message: "You have 10 minutes to move your car." Now I thought, who is this freak that is sending me these messages? I start getting paranoid again. 20 seconds later: "Your car is being towed." 20 seconds later: "Your car is being crushed into a cube." 20 seonds later: "You have 20 minutes to move your cube." I am quite puzzled, and rather amused. The main point of this post is really to tell whoever it is that is sending me these messages thank you for diverting me at a time when I was bored. Well actually...there is really no "main point" to this post. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hey, no Henna?

So on Sunday night, I was getting into the mindset of Eid (yes, I was a Monday-er), getting ready to go to sleep because of the early prayer the next morning. But alas, there was no rest written for me that night... At around midnight, a friend who was planning on celebrating Eid on Tuesday phoned me and started yelling hysterically over the phone - the moon was sighted! For about a minute or so, her and I screamed things like "OH MY GOD" and "THIS IS SO COOL" and "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING" etc. It's not like we were even going to see each other on Eid, but the fact that Toronto was celebrating Eid on one day was quite beautiful. So I signed onto MSN after vowing not to use it again that night (oh, the lies). And I started messaging people Eid greetings. People were in shock. They had expected Eid to be Tuesday so they weren't prepared at all. The sheer wasn't made, the clothes weren't ironed, the house wasn't meticulously cleaned, and the henna wasn't applied. How could this be happening?! A sense of excitement was in the air, mingled with some panic, but still :) And since everyone celebrated Eid on the same day, the prayer was packed... (And that's only half of the women's section) SubhanAllah. Eid was so beautiful. Even if there was no sheer.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bittersweet Eid

So it has come to this: the last day of Ramadan. The last few hours, few moments, few minutes. It's kind of fascinating how Ramadan changes people. How people who are otherwise not very religious start to abstain from bad things and increase their worship and God-consciousness. My sister in Egypt noticed the same transformation, even though it is a Muslim country:
As I was walking home I noticed that people were reading Quran everywhere. In the taxis, waiting for a bus, in the mosque, and men that just happened to be sitting/standing around. Their lips and tongues were busy with the remembrance of Allah. It was a wonderful sight.
That's why Eid has always been somewhat of a bittersweet celebration for me. I'm sad because this opportunity is over and I don't know if I'll live to see the next one. It's always a tiny bit sad because I know people will stop caring about Islam after Ramadan and start up all their bad deeds again. The masajid become empty once more, the smooth pages of the Qur'an aren't felt or read out loud or muttered under people's breath on the subway anymore. Autumn is just autumn now, not Ramadan-Autumn, this is when the leaves really start to fall. But then when I'm down I remember that Allah doesn't end. His Light never goes out the way that Ramadan's blessings end. He is still The Most Merciful, The Forgiving. He is all-year-round. And then I feel Eid.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Protect your banana!"

Do you like Bruised Bananas?

You know the feeling, just when you fancy eating that banana you've been carrying around, you dig it out from the bottom of your bag to discover it looks like it has gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson.

How many times have you taken your banana to work or school only to find it transformed into a black inedible mess? Only hours before your banana was perfect, now it is just fit for the bin.

How can you stop this happening to you again? Transport your banana in a BananaGuard and never throw your banana away again!

  • This sturdy plastic case is designed to fit the majority of bananas.
  • Comes in 9 Fantastic Colours.
  • Easy Snap/Click opening and closing action.
  • Dishwasher Safe.
  • Great for use in:
    • Rucksacks
    • School Bags
    • Briefcases
    • Golf Bags
    • Or even on its own with the aid of our BananaGuard Holster (Coming Soon).
  • Ideal for use by all the family.
  • Makes a great gift for banana lovers everywhere.
The BananaGuard is also great for keeping the inside of your bag free from "Banana Mush". No more messy jackets or books to clean.

Keep Britain tidy and take your banana skin home in your BananaGuard.

We Brits love our bananas. Yearly consumption in the UK currently stands at 13kg a head. Considering the population is around 60 million, thats a lot of bananas. Not surprising really as bananas are very good for you. Packed with energy, fibre and vitamins. Rich in potassium and low in calories.

Its time you returned the favour and took more care of your banana.

Other items that fit into a BananaGuard:

  • Grapes & any other small soft fruits
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • 6 Cream Eggs (Useful for posting to Australia)
  • Toothpaste & Toothbrush whilst Trekking

The BananaGuard currently comes in 9 colours, available online:
  • Ravishing Red
  • Outrageous Orange
  • Mellow Yellow
  • Sublime Green
  • Skyhigh Blue
  • DeepSea Blue
  • Passionate Purple
  • Pretty in Pink
  • Glow in the Dark
(Don't you want to hurt these people?)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Woman's Guide to the Last 10 Nights of Ramadan

We're coming into the last ten days and nights of Ramadan, so sometimes we need a little bit of a guide on how to deal with some "situations" that may arise during this time at your local mosque... 1. What not to wear. Don't wear black shoes to the masjid. You'll thank me for this when you're done praying and there are 100 women trying to find their shoes in a small box-like area. At the same time. And all of their shoes are black. 2. Kids running through the lines of prayer & how to deal. Let me break it down for you: it's very distracting when children are running through the lines while you're praying. I'm not talking about really young kids who don't know what they're doing. I'm talking about the feisty 4-7 year olds who are playing hide-and-go-seek in your abaya and tag or soccer through the lines. You think I'm joking, but I'm not (I suppose this is only a problem in the women's section). What I used to do was ignore them, then get really mad while praying so that I could barely even attempt to concentrate. Right thing to do? Wrong. This is what you do: as the kid is running in front of you, grab him/her by the shirt and push him/her in the direction of the end of the line. Surprisingly, that is LESS of a distraction to you than ignoring it. Plus, the other women in the line who weren't brave enough to do this will silently appreciate your work. (If the situation involves a ball of some sort, and the child is...oh I don't know...throwing it at people's heads in sujood, take the ball away and ignore the child's cries.) 3. Placing your belongings in a safe place. Nothing sucks more than finishing your prayer and saying "Alhamdulillah that was nice," then finding out that your keys/wallet/phone/cookies have disappeared from your bag. I was at prayer a few days ago and I put my bag in front of me. Silly me, I left the zipper on it opened. So a little girl comes crawling through the aisle in front of me (yes, I'm calling them aisles from now on) and starts rummaging through my things. Specifically, I had a cookie in my bag that she took out and started playing with. So I was looking at her and thinking "oh man, when is the imam gonna finish, I need to secure my cookie!" Luckily the prayer was done shortly thereafter and I took the cookie away from her and zipped my bag shut (you may be shaking your head at how cruel I am, but she was a baby and probably wasn't capable of eating solids. Plus it was mine.) 4. What to wear, part two. Take a sweater with you, or a jacket. Because either it's going to be really hot, or really cold - depending on whether or not the mosque caretakers choose to crank up the air conditioning to an unhealthy level. And if they don't, pressing against people for an hour or two won't make it pleasant weather. It's best to be prepared, either way. 5. Hanging out at the entrace or exit of the mosque. We're not at the masjid to check out guys, but some guys are there to find their future wives. And since there is likely a divider between the women and men in the actual prayer hall, the outside of the masjid is perfect. So don't just stand there. And preferably, have some pepper spray on you just in case a guy looks at you in the wrong way (I kid, I kid! kind of). Of course, girls aren't totally innocent either. But in any case, it's Ramadan man. Have some respect for yourself and the place of worship. 6. Don't stop to buy halal marshmallows in the lobby. Look. I know they're halal and they taste good, so the temptation is really great. But you're already getting fat enough in Ramadan. 7. What really matters: good intentions. Make your intention to please Allah (swt), that's really all that matters. Ramadan is a time where people are freed from the fire, so let's try to be among those, inshaAllah.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Asmaa is currently going through a cycle of sleep deprevation, please hang up now.

Today, October 11th is school's monthaversary. I started exactly one month ago today. What did I do to celebrate? I inadvertently slept in and missed my first class (barakah ya gami'). <--- This is what I want to do now. I definitely wouldn't be that cute, but I'd enjoy the sleep as much as any baby would. In other news, I have a monstrous test today that I'm not ready for. And I'll probably break my fast during the test with a lollipop...a Halloween lollipop. EDIT: I'm trying to study and there's this group of people sitting in the next room, someone's playing a guitar and they're singing about their lord Jesus (na'uthubillah). They're singing quite badly and I'm getting very agitated. Very very very agitated. Very. Edit #2: pretty sure I failed that test. Haha

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thinging of that Think.

I am writing this to reach out to you many bloggers on something that has been troubling me for some time. It is extremely troubling that I have come to the realization that I no longer know how to spell. Now, all you English-lovers/Majors out there that know me may be thinking to yourself right now "and yeah, how is that any different from before you travelled?" But seriously, I'm forgetting how to spell "the". I'm writing Thing instead of Think, and vice versa. I'm writing without prober grammar or punctuation. Opps Proper. Oh yeah, the letter "P" Exists in the English language. I forgets. How can I cure this? I've taken up reading random novels from my school library in order to keep my language skills alive. Any other suggestions for a language-deficient individual?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

ps: I want your first-born son

My little sister and I had an interesting MSN conversation just now (she's just in the other room by the way)...her nickname was this: "Cinderella, cinderella, you better run at the stroke of midnight." Me: you're not cinderella Me: face it, you have big feet Her: meaann! Me: I'm cinderella, okay. Her: more like rumpelstiltskin

Saturday, September 30, 2006

and He found me wandering...

Surat Ad-Dhuha is probably one of my favourite surahs. Here's the translation: 1. By the Glorious Morning Light, 2. And by the Night when it is still,- 3. Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased. 4. And verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present. 5. And soon will thy Guardian-Lord give thee (that wherewith) thou shalt be well-pleased. 6. Did He not find thee an orphan and give thee shelter (and care)? 7. And He found thee wandering, and He gave thee guidance. 8. And He found thee in need, and made thee independent. 9. Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness, 10. Nor repulse the petitioner (unheard); 11. But the bounty of the Lord - rehearse and proclaim! I don't know if I ever fully grasped why I loved the surah so much, then it hit yesterday. The khateeb was reciting it during Jumuah prayer... There is a point that comes in every person's life when he or she comes to a major intersection and chooses the direction to take. We've all been in situations where we're utterly and hopelessly lost. The directions your friends or family gave you were terrible and you didn't bring a map. Imagine someone coming to you, taking you by the hand and saying: come with me, I know where you're going and I'll take you there myself. That's wandering, and that's guidance: "and He found thee wandering, and He gave thee guidance." He's given us everything we need to be happy and to attain success in this world and the next. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who couldn't quite be satisfied with the small pleasures of life. Apparently everything is redundant, everything is the same, and the world is too hurt to be healed, "so why should I try?" My answer is this: Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee. And "the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present." I forget that every day. There isn't a moment that goes by where I'm not thinking of something I need in this life, something that I strive for, an appointment that I'm late for or a reading I haven't completed. Only fleeting thoughts of the hereafter run through my mind. I realized that it's not a reality for me, death. I can't picture it, I can't picture being here one moment and then not, I can't picture the journey. Except in pain, then I can see it. When pain comes, the only way to overcome it is to know that the hereafter is better for you. The only way to choose the right thing to do is to know that hereafter is better - nothing in this life lasts but the next life is forever. I've been terrible this Ramadan so far, and that's devastating. I can barely think of one or two good things that I've done within the past week. I hope and pray that the coming weeks will be better.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

where is your thing?

An old Arab lived close to New York City for more than 40 years. One day, he decided that he would love to plant potatoes and herbs in his garden, but he knew he was alone and too old and weak. His son was in college in Paris, so the old man sent him an e-mail explaining the problem:
Beloved son, I am very sad, because I can't plant potatoes in my garden. I am sure, if only you were here, that you would help me and dig up the garden for me. I love you. your father
The following day, the old man received a response e-mail from his son:
Beloved father, Please don't touch the garden. That is where I have hidden 'the THING.' I love you, too. Ahmed
At 4 pm, the FBI and the Rangers visited the house of the old man and took the whole garden apart, searching every inch. But they couldn't find anything. Disappointed, they left the house. The next day, the old man received another e-mail from his son:
Beloved father, I hope the garden is dug up by now and you can plant your potatoes. That is all I could do for you from here. Your loving son, Ahmed

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bismillahi ArRahman, ArRaheem The camel complained to Muhammad. Allahu Akbar, How perfect my Lord is, Al-Atheem du’aa has brought us to decisions when caught at crossroads. It wasn’t easy choosing the higher path, but we did. And now I choose to cross the road at green, not between angry drivers. Sami’Allahu liman hamidah Allah has heard those who praised and thanked Him I came home today on the bus and a man offered me his seat and smiled. I smiled at my neighbour and held the elevator door open for her. And she smiled, too- a charity easily afforded. Allahu Akbar How Perfect my Lord is, The Most High I took my mother’s hand while we waited for news – good or bad, it didn’t matter because Al-Wadud was there with us. And washing the dishes, even with essays to write doesn’t seem like such a daunting task anymore. Allahu Akbar My Lord, forgive me my sins. We pull up our garments on snowy days for fear of salt-stains, so I will, too, hold close my garments on this thorny path for fear of a pain that is forever, and for the hope of a joy that never ends. Allahu Akbar, Lessen the camel’s load.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

30 Days, 30 Acts of Kindness

"When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened." It's hard to believe that we've arrived from last Ramadan to this one so quickly. Some people who were with us last Ramadan are no longer here. Alhamdulillah for another opportunity to repent and to purify ourselves. So what is your plan for Ramadan? I know a lot of people read the whole Qur'an during Ramadan, or stay up all night praying, or stay in the masjid for extended periods of time. But when was the last time you made it a point to improve the relationship between you and the people around you during this month? Yes, Ramadan is a month to seek the Forgiveness and Mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala), but it's also a time to foster and maintain good relationships. People seem to forget that this brings us closer to Allah, too!
Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Allah, the Exalted, says 'Indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones who visit each other for My Sake. Indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones who love one another for My Sake. Indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones who approach one another in humility for My Sake. And, indeed, My Love shall be bestowed upon the ones that rush to help one another for My Sake." (Musnad Imam Ahmad)
This is what we're doing, inshaAllah: for every day in Ramadan, we do something nice for someone - something that we wouldn't normally do. It can be anything; calling up a friend or relative who you haven't been in touch with lately, doing the dishes for your mom (guys), saying kind words to someone, giving a gift, or just receiving someone with a sincere smile. Anything and anyone. No one is going to follow up with you to make sure you do something nice every day. But do this for yourself. Make it a habit and it will become something that you enjoy. So far, Safiyyah and Hajera are in. Who else is game?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Limericks

Here are some limericks I just made up right now. It's fun... 1. There was a young lady of Maine who was so incredibly plain. Her suitors were few, and she lived in a shoe. That ugly young lady of maine. 2. There was a silly boy named AP who liked to have cookies and tea. He quit his blog, and inhaled some smog That silly ol' boy, AP. 3. There was an olde woman of Kenya whose favourite word was "gardenia," She gave freezy stares, and climbed up some stairs That wonderful olde woman of Kenya. 4. There was a young man with no beard He looked incredibly weird. His uber-bare chin was possessed by a jinn. That nonsensical boy with no beard. 5. There was a young lady with a ball her brain was exceedingly small. She bounced it around, then used a noun. That asinine young lady with a ball. You should all try your hand at this, it's quite diverting.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Here I am at Your Service..."

I want to go for Hajj. Who wouldn't want to go, looking at this?

Recently I've been feeling the need to go for Hajj pretty intensely. I suppose it's because a bunch of my friends who went to Ummrah this past month just came back with amazing and life-changing stories. But it's more than that. There's this immense sense of history there. The life of Muhammad, peace be upon him and his companions, all of it happened there. It's where Islam was born. Being someone who has little sense of my own family's history, that aspect of depth and meaning is somewhat lost to me. But the history that's in these cities, Makkah and Madina, doesn't diminish from one generation to the next. On the contrary, every year that passes brings more pilgrims, more people seeking forgiveness and hoping for Allah's Mercy. I want to feel that this history is my history. It's more important than who my great-great-great grandfather was. If I had the money and a willing mahram, there wouldn't be anywhere in the world that I'd go first. Labaik Allahumma, Labaik. Labaika laa shareeka lakal labaik.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What school does to me

I was sitting with my friend yesterday at school. I was eating a banana. I finished my banana and proceeded to deposit it into the nearest recepticle. A few minutes later, I rifle through my bag and take an apple out and offer it to my friend. It went something like this: Me: Hey, do you want a banana? Her: (gives me a weird look) Me: (looks at apple, thinking: hey, this isn't a banana...) Me: What is this called? Her: Umm it's an apple. Me: oh yeah. She then begins laughing at the all too apparent ineptitude of an English major.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

5:30am

It's 5:30am when I'm posting this. Early morning is so interesting. When you get up, it almost seems like time is at a standstill. It's peaceful (i.e. everyone else is asleep). Hey, I just heard the newspaper guy throw the Toronto Star at our door. Kind of freaked me out for a bit. Until I realized what it was. Can't wait for autumn to hit, though I can definitely wait for school. I start Monday inshaAllah. Sometimes it seems like a fruitless endeavour, school. School doesn't impart vision or passion for a specific thing, at least not in me. School is just there, for no particular reason besides draining the money/fun/joy/all other good things out of life. So what do I want to do with my life? I think I'd like to be a starving artist. Wait, wait, hold that thought. A fed artist. Okay, maybe not an artist per se. More like a fed person doing something cool. These are my 5:30 am philosophizing rants. All you sleeping people should get up.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Strawberry Picking at...the Masjid?

I love going to the masjid. But the problem is, it's hard to leave. Not because my heart is severely attached to the masjid, or because it's so peaceful in there, or even because it's air-conditioned. No, I physically have difficulty leaving the masjid. And this is because of the "strawberry picking effect." When you're out in the fields picking strawberries during the summer and you fill your baskets almost to the point of overflow, it's an amazing feeling. Allah (swt) provides, and all we have to do is be there to gather them. And pay for them. So, when you're getting ready to leave, you gather your family members and all start walking from the middle of the field back to the farm (or wherever it is you have to pay). But as you're walking out, you keep noticing these beautiful red strawberries that you MUST obtain for your basket. Okay, fine. You stop and pull them off their stems and put them in your basket and move on. But then, you see more amazing strawberries that you MUST have for your basket. So you stop to get those as well. And it goes on and on. By the time you get to the cashier, you have strawberries in your basket, in your hat, in some plastic bags that you happened to find in your purse, and some are oozing out of your pockets. It's similar to the situation at the masjid. As you're leaving, your mom sees an old friend from back in the day and they talk for 10 minutes. When they're done, you walk towards the exit, but are stopped by several more familiar faces - you give the 3 kisses, right, left, right and shake hands. Then when you finally get out of the masjid, you realize you forgot something inside. You go back inside, only to bump into 20 to 25 more people to greet and speak with. Then, (ahh, at last!) finally you're out - but wait, where's abee? So you see, people in masjids are like strawberries, you just HAVE to stop. Except you don't put people in your pockets.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Irony Sucks

You know what ticks me off? (Hey, why is everything ticking me off lately?) Anyways, so what ticks me off is twistie ties. Yeah, that's right, twistie ties. Those little bendable strips that come with plastic lunch bags so that all the junk you put into the bags won't fall out. I collected all the twistie ties that we have at home. Here's the result:

Well clearly, they put more twistie ties in the box than actual plastic bags. Why else would so many be left over? And it's impossible for any normal human being to use all of those - thus leading to the accumulation of twistie ties. So, I took them all and put them in a plastic lunch bag. And twistie-tied it shut.

The irony is killing me.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cutting the Line: a (Very) Bitter Diatribe

I used to think it was a universal value that when someone is standing in a line and you arrive, you stand behind him or her. But apparently I was mistaken. Today I was thrown into a not-so-funny situation with a lot of rude people. Unfortunately, they were mostly Muslims (Muslim Day at Ontario Place). It's like this: there's one person in the line ahead of you who's saving a spot for his 23 cousins, 7 aunts, and 9 nephews. So whilst you're waiting in line, people keep coming ahead of you because someone is saving them a spot. It really boggles the mind. And then there are the people who press up against you for no apparent reason at all. My family and I were in line for one of their movies today (which really sucked, by the way) and there was this woman and her family who were trying to cut in front of us, so we all stood shoulder to shoulder in a wall-like fashion. My dad was whispering violently "maintain the wall! Maintain the wall!" It was pretty funny now that I think about it. But I was fuming at the time. Then, this woman was standing so close behind me in the line that she stepped on my shoelace and I almost fell over. So my shoelace came undone and I kept stumbling because she was continuously stepping on it as I was trying to move forward in the line. Then she started complaining to me saying "your shoelace is undone." I think I turned red because I was so angry. But I calmly explained to her that it was too crowded for me to bend down and tie it. Then she starting speaking another language to her husband or whoever was with her: "blah dee da dee da laces, blah blah blah laces." HELLO, I CAN TELL YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ME BECAUSE YOU KEEP USING THE WORD "LACES!" GAH!! Man, Muslims seriously need to revaluate the terms "common decency" and "behaving like human beings while in the presence of others." End of (very) bitter diatribe.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Overcoming Allah’s Tests: Understanding the Parable of a Beautiful Tree

Here is something I wrote that could possibly be of benefit to you random blog readers...instead of my very very random posts :) Allah, Glory be to Him, says in the Quran: "Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, 'We believe,' and that they will not be tested? We did test those before them, and Allah will certainly know those who are true from those who are false" (Quran, 29: 2-3). By virtue of being created as human beings, we will be tested. We will be thrown into countless trials, into situations that may arise unpleasant and awkward, and into times of difficulty when it seems as though there is little reason to hope. Tests will come at us from every direction; events will test the very core of our character and the strength of our beliefs. And these are the tests we cannot afford to fail. And Allah, Glory be to Him, has not left us empty-handed. Building our knowledge and our characters as Muslims is the only way to overcome the mild to the severe trials we will face every day until we die. He says: "Have you not seen how Allah has given the parable of a beautiful word like a beautiful tree whose roots are firmly established, and whose branches tower in the sky? It gives its fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord, and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember" (Quran, 14: 24-25). A "beautiful word" in this verse refers to the Islamic statement of belief: la illaha ill Allah (there is no being worthy of worship except Allah). And the verse goes on to refer to a beautiful tree, which illustrates the character of a believer. According to this verse, a believer is one whose Iman, or faith, is unwavering and firmly established. He or she cannot be swayed from the straight path by the winds of trials, no matter how fierce the storm. Knowing and believing that there is no being worthy of worship except Allah, Glory be to Him, and following His commandments provides a believer with the stability and confidence he or she needs to succeed. A believer's branches also "tower in the sky" like that of the beautiful tree. By this analogy, a believer's Iman cannot remain hidden. A Muslim cannot claim to have Iman solely in the heart while not having it show in his or her actions. Contrary to that, Iman is something so significant that by its nature, it must be seen by anyone who looks at or interacts with a Muslim. Your Iman raises you up to a higher moral level, just as the braches of the beautiful tree reach upwards towards to the sky. These verses also mention that this tree that is compared with a true believer "gives its fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord." The tree of Iman is ever fruitful, unlike a real tree that only gives fruits at certain times of the year. Your faith and your belief in la illaha ill Allah sustains you night and day, in every season, during times of ease and times of great hardship. This is the parable of the believer whose good deeds never take a vacation – they are continuous throughout the day and the night. The chapter goes on to say "And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth having no stability" (Quran 14: 26). An "evil word" in this verse refers to disbelief. The verse describes the powerlessness and volatility of disbelief – it has no basis and he or she who disbelieves has little stability in life. The trials and difficulties of life can easily uproot such a person.

May Allah, Glory be to Him, make us be of those who are firmly rooted in their beliefs.
Islamic history is riddled with examples of Muslims who withstood tests that would seem unimaginably difficult today. The Muslims of the past had an abundance of patience and perseverance which are two important traits of this beautiful tree of Iman. Two Muslims who were of the most firmly rooted of believers were Sumayyah and Yasir, may God be pleased with them. After being among the first Muslims and agreeing to accept Islam in a very tumultuous period, Sumayyah and Yasir along with their son Ammar were tortured mercilessly at the hands of Abu Jahl. The family was left unprotected since they had no tribal affiliations in Makkah. Unable to physically help them at the time, the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would visit them and say, "be patient, O family of Yasir, because your promised place is Paradise." He would then turn his face to the sky and say: "O Lord! Forgive the family of Yasir." The prophet also prayed for the alleviation of Ammar's suffering by placing Ammar's head in his lap and saying: "O fire! Be cool and harmless for Ammar in the same manner in which you became cool and harmless for Ibrahim." Sumayyah and Yasir were both martyred in the cause of Allah, Glory be to Him, after refusing to leave their faith which was dearer to them than life itself. The family was honoured with the best of honours: the prophet's guarantee of their home in paradise. These are the examples we should take as guides to our own lives. Too often do we compromise what we believe in to accommodate the uneducated assumptions of others. Too often do we forget the immense history of Islam and Muslims. One of the reasons we have the gift of Islam is because we stand on the shoulders of people like Sumayyah and Yasir, may Allah be pleased with them. People who did not waver, did not compromise their Iman to please others or even to save their own lives. Just like in our Islamic history, our strength as a community and as individuals today can only stem from the remembrance of and obedience to Allah, Glory be to Him. These times are difficult and the pain often hits close to home. But by holding fast to our belief in la illaha ill Allah , we will stay firmly rooted, our branches will tower high towards the sky, and our hearts will never lack sustenance, InshaAllah. Sources: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 5 http://www.al-islam.org/

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Made in Egypt

My mom came back from a (much too long) trip too Egypt a few days ago. She bought us some things that really entertained us. Like this shirt's tag:

It eloquently says "It's time to be in top of quality with our fashion you will test the material." And I don't know why it has a picture of Charlie Chaplin on it.

I love it, it's so random. I love Egyptians.

Friday, August 18, 2006

i'm tired of writing lists

i'm tired of walking. i'm tired of hanging my clothes in the closet. i'm tired of being alone, but i'm more tired of being with people. i'm tired of capitalizing words. i'm tired of using my debit card. i'm tired of phone calls on my evil cellphone which I will soon get rid of...(except i'm not so tired of getting calls from hajera because she's pretty entertaining) i'm tired of trying to change my useless university courses around so that I can actually have a decent schedule. i'm tired of doing laundry. i'm tired of typing. i'm tired.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

a little piece of life

On August 13th, 1992, my little sister was born. I remember my mom being pregnant all those months. It seemed an eternity that she was pregnant with this little baby. I was six years old and I started to wonder whether I really was going to get a baby sister or whether it was some hoax because it was taking so long and I was (am) impatient. We woke up one morning only to find a note left by my dad on the bedroom door saying that my mom had gone into labour and they were going to the hospital. Soon after, my dad called us and told us the news: it was a little girl, a bit jaundiced, but healthy. He took us all to the hospital to see this for ourselves. And there she was, a tiny little thing in my mom's arms. Aside: when my mom had her first child, my dad made sajdah (prostration) to Allah (swt) and the nurses thought that he fainted. He got used to the whole childbirth thing though ;) She and my mom had to stay in the hospital for a few extra days. In that time we basically lived off of my dad's cooking (i.e. eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and some weird jam that came in a toothpaste bottle from the hospital's grocery store. When the baby came home she didn't exactly have a crib waiting for her. Instead, we took a laundry basket and put a bunch of sheets and fluffy stuff in it, and voila, a bed. My parents debated what to name her for some time. It's funny, my dad still has the brainstorming list of possible names! Though they liked the name Aasiyah, they finally settled on "Nusaybah," at the suggestion of my older brother, who happened to be reading the story of Nusaybah bint Ka'b at the time. So that was her name - it seemed like such a big name for such a little body. And we were all enamoured with her. A new life always brings so much joy, and happiness - though it was my mom who stayed up with her at night when she would cry, while the rest of us shut our doors and slept through the night. And the years passed - she crawled, she started waddling around (very cutely), and she started figuring out many evil things to do (like, opening the fridge and breaking eggs, etc.). Then she got into school, which she hated initially...then the years she learned to read but still couldn't pronounce the letter "R" (she would pronounce it as an "L"). So "Rug" would be "Lug" and "door" would be "dool." Today we found this note she wrote to me when she was 5 or 6: It says "Asma is very good. She is the queen. She looks very beautiful. She is my sister." From then on, I knew she was very intelligent. Then when she started wearing hijab - she must have been 8 or 9 then. And all our trips to the library on our street, where she'd always borrow books she had already read several times, even though I told her not to. The rest is a blur. It's interesting how I saw her grow up right in front of me, but I never really noticed. Time is a funny thing. Eventually, inshaAllah, she will grow up and have kids of her own and recount to them the stories of their childhoods. And hers will be only a very distant memory, as though it never really happened.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

going...bananas?

Yeah, so my dad found a mumified banana in one of our kitchen cupboards. Apparently it got pushed back so far that no one noticed it was there. I have a sneaking feeling that it was my older sister and her devious hiding-fruit-in-the-cupboard ways. (Which of course means that the fruit was in the cupboard for upwards of about 2 months.) Check it out: I find it amazing how a banana could become so mumified (by the way, the banana is now hard to the touch). And as you can see, the banana is now also flat: And of course my dad, being a man who enjoys meaningful things, refuses to throw it away. Instead, it's now a new art piece in our living room. Go figure.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Extremist Makeover

This video is funny. The Egyptian guy is the best - very true to the trademark Egyptian accent and jollity :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rant on Tuition and Revenge, by Asmaa

So I got my tuition invoice today - not so pleasant, as you can well imagine. They raised tuition fees (which are already exorbitantly high) by another $300. So let's do a quick run-down of the options I'd have to explore in order to pay it off without incurring interest: 1. Rob a bank (which I assume may be equally as bad as incurring interest) 2. Suddenly acquire a job that'll pay me several thousand dollars within the next month. 3. Get married and use the dowry to pay it off. Also, the feeling of annoyance really brings out the worst in me - well, the creative worst. Now I'm thinking I'd like to get my revenge against one or more of the university personnel who made the decision to raise tuition. A very nice method of revenge that I have aptly named "Asmaa's revenge" is this: The first step is to find out where this person lives and sneak into his or her bathroom when there's no one home. Next, take their bottle of shampoo and empty it out into the sink. Next, replace it with Nair hair removal lotion (those ones where you put them on your skin then "magically wipe the hair away"). Then proceed to sneak out of the person's home while laughing and rubbing hands together in an evil manner.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Dust is My Bed

Saw this on someone else's blog. I always liked this nasheed (these are the ones you listen to constantly in Ramadan), the video is good. Please take a few minutes to watch it. Life's shorter than we make it out to be. May Allah (swt) accept our intentions and good actions and forgive us for our many transgressions.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Sir, I'm so sorry to break this to you - you're suffering from lackofbearditis. This is serious indeed."

In advance: apologies for any offense caused, but well, I like to laugh and writing this made me laugh... A wise woman once said, "men with beards have not been created equal." And indeed, they have not. For some are hot while others are not. Now, the question of whether bearded men are generally hotter than non-bearded men has been a pertinent issue amongst the pseudo-scholars of Islam. In particular, abu ibn bint ukht Sagheeratul-arnab has been studying this issue for some time. This scholar is best known for his infamous fatwa on the impermissibility of the Ken doll.

After much questioning on the topic, he made it clear that "Islamically, this would be considered an Idol. Not only that, but presenting the female, I mean, male without a beard influences young boys. They do not want to grow their beards anymore! Plus, my wife said he looks like a woman."

Sagheeratul-arnab's controversial views do not change the fact that Ken does look like a woman. But, getting to the meat of the matter. For men who choose to grow their beards, there are guidelines as to which types of hair growth are the most advantageous in terms of hotness - and which types of hair growth are revolting. The OBL-type beard:

This type of facial hair sends off the message: "come close to me and I will strangle you with my beard, why you little...oh you're Muslim? Sorry, Assalaamu alaikum my esteemed brother." The Hillbilly/Idomo Guy Beard: These beards are just disturbing. I do not know why any man would grow a beard that makes his face look like an add-on/extra feature that doesn't belong with that big hairball.

The "Like, OMG, I am so original for growing a beard and smoking marijuana" Beard: The "I think I look cool because I have this little stubble that I didn't shave this morning" Cowardly Beard: The "I claim to have a beard, but it's really just a pencil-thin line of hair that happens to reside on my chin" Young Desi/Arab Beard: Like, why would you disgrace the name of beards by claiming to have a beard when all you have is some insignificant little facial hair that hasn't reached the league of beardom yet? It's very sad, really. (Sorry, random dude)

The "I grow my beard out of love for the sunnah" Coolness Beard: But wait. What about the men who simply cannot grow beards? How is it fair for those poor baby-faced men? It is not fair. The beard doctor humbly offers a solution similar to that of a prosthetic limb:

In all seriousness, I don't understand the reasoning behind Muslim men who don't grow beards. If you forget, for just a moment, the whole is-it-fardh-or-not discourse, you'll realize that it's a part of your identity as a Muslim male, just as hijab is a part of a Muslim woman's identity. So think about it - if you're happy and satisfied to be a Muslim, why are you afraid to show it?

Friday, July 21, 2006

m&ms - not as good as smarties, but okay.

My mom and sister have been gone for over a month now and for some reason I feel a strong inclination to post about this. Probably because my sister's wedding is on Monday, and it's the suckiest thing that I can't be there. This is the second time. Guess what I'll be doing when she's there getting married? I'll be in an MSA meeting - no joke. It's like, you've lived with someone for so long that you get used to their habits, their way of thinking, talking, acting. So that's it I suppose, I got used to Mar' s annoying habits like waking me up at 1am and being like "do you want to eat with me?" Or not letting me borrow her clothes, ever. Or hiding fruits for herself in the cupboard (don't ask). Or deciding that the tea from Tim Horton's didn't taste quite right and going back to demand a refund. Or deciding that she wanted to go for a jog in the middle of the night. Random stuff like that. When she left, we sort of subconsiously took over her qualities - because if we didn't, the family would seem bereft of some personality that was there before. I think I must have taken on all of her annoying qualities. Actually wait, I'm likely the only one who took on any of her qualities, and they were all the bad ones. Interestingly enough, when I talk to her, it seems like she's lost these annoying qualities that she had. I suppose she left them behind for me. I inherited them. We cried a lot at the airport. Here we are, making fools out of ourselves while suspicious security guards circle us. I can only imagine what they were thinking: "why are those Mozlems crying? Oh man, maybe this is the last time they're going to see those passengers! Maybe those passengers have bombs, like OMG lolzz." (Okay, maybe not the lolzz part.) We couldn't go any further with my mom and sister, past the metal detectors where they were, of course, thoroughly searched. Then they turned around and waved just before disappearing - my sister put her index finger up high and mouthed something to us, la illaha illallah.

Monday, July 17, 2006

'and when the graves are turned upside down...'

It has been a difficult time for Muslims these past few weeks and months. I feel as though we are being attacked from every angle and by everyone. The bombardment doesn't stop; it's terrorism, it's murder, it's religious oppression. It's Iraq, it's Gaza, it's Afghanistan, it's Beirut. It's the flickering lights after Maghrib, followed by deafening blasts. We haven't seen the face of loss, we haven't felt the earth shake under our feet, we haven't felt the possibility of losing loved ones in one flicker of a light. Our reality ends where our TV screens begin. And to us, their realities end when our TVs are shut off. These people are faceless to us. Except that Allah (swt) doesn't shut off a TV screen, He is The All-Seeing, The All-Hearing, The All-Knowing. The situation going on right now overseas reminded me of a story I heard just a few months ago: This event happened after the battle of Al-Qadisiyyah which was during the Khilafah of Umar (ra) - Muslims against Persians. Umar (ra) was standing, waiting alone at the outskirts of Madinah for a messenger to come tell him what the result of the battle was. The messenger, Al-Bashir, came running towards Madinah to tell the Khalifah the news. Umar (ra) asked him about the results and he said "The Muslims were victorious, I must go tell the Khalifah." He didn't recognize Umar as the Khalifah because of his simple clothes and the fact that he was out on the edge of Madinah alone, just waiting. Umar (ra) asked Al-Bashir to tell him who was martyred during the battle. Al-Bashir told him the many names of those killed in the way of Allah. He said "so-and-so was martyred, and so-and-so was martyred, and many people who we don't know." Umar (ra) began crying and he said, "Allah knows who they are." If we forget Muslims who are suffering, Allah (Swt) doesn't forget them. It's so easy to lose track of everything: your purpose, you goals, your Iman. It's so easy to forget Allah (swt), it's so easy to continue our lives in the most superficial ways and to shut off the TV when it's not convenient. But we don't realize that Allah (swt) doesn't forget us. He knows where we are, what we're doing, and He awaits the opportunity to forgive us if we return to Him in repentance. Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger said, "Every night when it is the last third of the night, our Rabb, the Superior, the Blessed, descends to the nearest heaven and says: Is there anyone to invoke Me that I may respond to his invocation? Is there anyone to ask Me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?" (Bukhari) SubhanAllah at the difference between human beings and Allah. Humans lie, manipulate and ignore the suffering of others, while Allah (swt) waits with open arms for us just to take one step towards Him. I pray to Allah (swt) not to let us go astray through our disobedience to Him. I pray to Allah (swt) to guide us in these difficult times and to keep us steadfast on the straight path. I pray that Allah (swt) accepts our deeds and our repentance and that He enters us into the highest levels of Jannah. I ask Allah (swt) to admit those dying in His cause into the highest levels of Jannah.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Seaswirl Strappy Sandal

For those of you who don't know, I'm now living in Egypt and will probably be here for quite some time. Of course, living in a new country has challenges that I would rather not get into on a public blog such as this. However, I will share today's dilema. I was on a shopping trip to kill time and I fell in love with these sandals......... Dang, aren't they gorgeous? Not too girly, with just enough sport in them... :) Anyhow, they were being sold for 300 Egyptian pounds at Timberland. This translates to about $60. So what was the dilema you ask? Surely quality goods that will last are worth the money. Yes, they are. Then I thought about what 300 pounds can buy in Egypt. A LOT. That's a month's salary to most people working decent jobs. I thought about how people live with very little but are so thankful and happy. So I thought, am I wasting my money? I was reluctant to buy them, even though I would not have been if I was back in Canada. Seeking a second opinion, I called Asmaa, but of course she was asleep. So here I am, posting before she is wakes up from her deep slumber. Any thoughts about this blue Seaworld Strappy Sandal?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Growing up

We all know that as the years pass, we change in ways that we never thought possible or probable. We mature and we learn how to deal with difficult issues and people. We gain knowledge and wisdom. An event took place today that made me realize just how profoundly we can change. I bought a Chunky Kit Kat today, just because I thought it was time to try something new instead of the old 4 stick Kit Kat. To my surprise, the Chunky Kit Kat (which I thought would be mediocre at best) was actually quite good. And I thought to myself, what a wonderful worrrrld. I mean, I thought to myself: wow, if I hadn't tried this bar, I would have been stuck eating the same old Kit Kat, and that was a scary, scary thought. So I am now on a journey to expand my experiences in order to develop what we call wisdom. On this journey, as perilous as it may be, I must be steadfast. I must have the courage to try new things, whether that be a new brand of chips or chocolate or maybe even cola. Only time will tell. Growing up. It's something you can measure Growing up it happens everyday Being young is something you can treasure But life is good when you're growing up Life is good when you're growing up... -Care Bears

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

messy on the inside

I usually don't like blogthings, but I found this one to be rather insightful.
You Are a Jelly Donut
So you're a little rounder than most folks - but it's only in the right places! You maintain a clean exterior, even if you're all messy on the inside. You think you're the best, and that's mostly true... But remember, you're just an empty shell without your jelly!
Where's my jelly at?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Clearly, there is "error" in Terror

"Two buildings were bombed and two thousand people died on September 11," he smiles. "And then they continued on and hit the Pentagon!" A chorus follows: "Takbeer! Allahu Akbar!" That's what I saw on CNN a few hours ago. And yes, I know that CNN isn't exactly a reliable source of information, but this was sickening. It was a gathering of Muslims in Britian - I won't name the specific group - and they were talking about September 11. They were so proud of what happened to the point of screaming "Takbeer, Allahu Akbar." I would venture to say that is a real case of blasphemy. We try to defend Islam and Muslims, we try to clean ourselves after we've been dragged through the mud of the media, and then people like this pop up. We've all heard Imams and Islamic leaders say questionable things at times, but this is beyond questionable - this is insanity. I want to shake these people and tell them: look, you're taking the lives of human beings - human beings that you have no right over, and taking their lives, making them meet their Lord. How can you live with yourself? And this gathering of men was made up of the kinds of people you would look at and say "MashaAllah, what a nice beard he has." You know, the kinds of people that you think are at least somewhat knowledgeable of Islam, who are honest, and who have a degree of morality. What is really angering is that these people think they're pious, they think that this is what Islam is about, and they like it. But they're doing nothing but following their violent desires (why someone would have the desire to be violent, I do not know). It reminds me of those people in previous nations who took the parts of their revelations that they liked, and deleted the parts they didn't like. Apparently these men have deleted from Islam everything related to respecting a human life, morality, accountability, understanding and cooperation. Oh wait, that is all of Islam. Sorry. Not only that, they've ADDED this notion that God wants them to carry out random acts of violence in His name. SubhanAllah, Glory be to Allah from what they ascribe to Him. Since terrorism has been discussed to death, I won't talk about it much more. But I will leave you with a little home-grown analogy. According to my dad, terrorism is like this - a man slaps you, then you want to retaliate so you go to his neighbour and slap him. It makes no sense.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Here I am

I had somewhat of an interesting weekend. My family, or what's left of us travelled to the States to attend an Islamic conference. We were detained at the border for quite some time. My dad had to park his car and we went into this building to be questioned. Man, if you saw the waiting room we were sitting in, you would have been freaked out. It was like something out of George Orwell's 1984. There was a huge American flag hanging from the ceiling, some framed portraits of George Bush and other government officials lining the walls, and of course, there was a TV in the room playing CNN News (just in case you forgot what country you were in and what loyalties you should have). The whole time I was sitting there I was thinking Alhamdulillah that I live in Canada. The border officials eventually figured out that these four cookie-eating, lame-joke-making, ball-bouncing people in our car were not a threat to national security and we were on our way. Right across the border, cars bearing a diverse array of world flags for the occasion of the World Cup became non-existent. Instead, stickers bearing the "Support Our Troops" slogan. Some cars had several of these stickers plastered all over their cars. I wanted to roll my window down and tell them: "okay, we get it!" The sudden replacement of Tim Horton's with Dunkin Donuts was also disturbing. Driving through this one neighbourhood, I literally counted 7 Dunkin Donuts within a 2 block radius. It was really despicable. It was an interesting trip, that's all I'll say for now. I could go on about the vices of America, but I won't. Instead, I remind myself and you that patience is the key to living righteously, and to everything we do and say. Here's to thinking twice before rolling down the window and yelling things, telling people who stare at you "listen, I know I'm hot, but it's rude to stare," muttering angry words under your breath, and losing hope in people: "And obey Allah and His Messenger. and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For Allah is with those who patiently persevere" (Al-Anfal: 46).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Unlikely Companions

This poem is dedicated to Hajera's new niece, Ameerah in hopes that she'll be an awesome cook ;) _ The cupboards were full the last time I checked. I accidentally put cinnamon next to brown sugar on the shelf and they mingled with white sugar. funny how both sugars get along, even with oatmeal who's laughter bellows and shakes- the little jars are intimidated. Sel and baking soda shook hands long ago when they decided they'd go together in recipes. Sometimes they don't. There's Molasses chatting with mother Tetley, looking after her little teabags. And flour sneezes while cocoa sighs at how quick his energy is depleted. Old yeast is no longer quick to rise. Baking powder's lid's sealed tight or the air'll get in and leave her flat. Peanut butter dominates his level, "King of the cupboard" with a fork abandoned in his belly. But his sweetheart, jam's been taken prisoner in the fridge. They meet solely when spread thinly over toast-chaperone and die dramatic lovers' deaths. The secret world of foreign spices lies just beyond their grasp on the other side of the kitchen, in another cupboard. And poor little forlorn cinnamon awaits the day when the girl will remember which cupboard to place him in so he can reunite with his beloved nutmeg, cardamom, cumin and black seed.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Remarkable Gift

Stop getting your hopes up, because this isn't Asmaa. As a matter of fact, this is Nusaybah, her younger sister, who just graduated from grade 8 on Friday. You probably just switched the computer off now. Well sorry nobody likes me. As you might have guessed, which you probably haven't, this is Asmaa's graduation gift from her to me: to write a post on her blog. Wow, how typical. I asked her, what kind of gift is this? She replied that it's very valuable to her. She said that it's also a marketing technique to get more people to write on her blog, I'm guessing because people aren’t interested anymore. Sniff. Great, so she's using me to get her friends to post on her blog. Why don't you guys just POST for goodness sake, oh my god! Okay, I'm probably boring everyone, but sorry I don't have Asmaa's special skills to attract lifeless people. You know what, I'm sorry for all the rude things I have said to anyone, because I'm not really like this in real life. No seriously, I'm a very happy person in reality. Very emotional, that is, much more than Asmaa, the heartless beast. I didn't mean that Asmaa, I know you hate when I say that. The graduation was great, Asmaa...the best part is when you hugged me and said "you better enjoy this, because this is the only hug you'll ever be getting" How nice. I'm surprised you have friends. But don't worry, I enjoyed it anyways. Oh well, that's over. But all this is actually pretty nice for Asmaa, she even made a chocolate cake and then told me it was a grad present. PSHHT. I'm not going to believe that, she probably made and THEN thought she might as well say that it was a present. Okay, what the heck am I doing, being optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. I cried so badly at the graduation, and I wasn't the only one, okay! It was just such a depressing moment, and I couldn't express how I felt except with tears. But the saddest thing is, my sister and my mother weren't there to cheer me on as I stepped onto the stage, and throughout the whole ceremony. I'll deal with it. But for now, I'll leave you alone. Thanks Asmaa, for letting me post on your blog, but I think it will create the opposite of what you intended.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where's my co-co-cola?

Yup, so I'm holding down the fort. And while doing so, I just thought I would share this video with all of you. I think it's rather brilliant in its own twisted kind of way. Kind of made me want to eat bologna to see if random playdo thingies would pop up and try to operate on me. Kind of.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Asmaa, can you help me pack?"

Friday was my sister's (Mars) last day teaching at her school because she's travelling to Egypt in a few hours...here are some of the notes she got from her students :) My sister really liked this one. When she got it, she kept gushing and making this dumb face and saying "awww, this is so sweet." Another student's redition of himself and the teacher playing soccer. Except that the teacher has no hair/looks like a man. But that's okay. "Sr. Mariam" is taller than the tree in this drawing! Hehe. And some kids were really creative. On the bottom of this one there's a little happy face made out of playdo. This is a card from a bunch of grade one kids. If I could draw your attention to the bottom left corner of the picture, you'll see that a brilliant young child wrote to her: "you nice." She laughed about that for a while. She's leaving in a few short hours with my mom. She's not actually planning on coming back in the near future and my mom will be away for two months. SubhanAllah, I've always thought that I was independent. But I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it. And Mariam, she's sort of my evil twin. Well, we're not really twins (though we've been mistaken for twins on many occasions). And she's not really evil. But together, we were a dangerous combination. And my mom...she's my lifeline, she's everything. I'm sad.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Important.

This is Sticky tack. This is a Coffee Crisp. These are the remnants of a popsicle. These are all three objects on the same plane. Just thought I should let you know. Bye.