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

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


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.