Monday, December 28, 2009

I guess it's because my interior is so vulnerable, that I deflect, deny, argue. Because when I'm wrong, it hurts in places I never knew existed. When I get cut down, I break down. When my work is belittled, I start believing that I'm useless, too.

I'm sad that I have to look for appreciation and understanding from people who don't mean as much to me as you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

haphazard

I'm currently in the midst of a 3-day visioning seminar. This one. Thus far I've realized that almost everything I have done in my life has been completely haphazard, for no higher goal really. For no spectacular ultimate vision. I'm disappointed in myself, and I'm wondering if I'll have the courage to do truly great things.

More on that later.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A brief summary of the year

In 2009, I:
Fell in love.

Bought 12 metropasses.

Got hooked on House.

Went from being a follower to a leader.

Realized that my chosen field may not be the right field for me.

Took 5 double-weekend, and 3 single-weekend courses on Islam, and still feel like I might never be close to God.

Went to Egypt and met my niece for the first time.

Got to see one of my best friends happily engaged.

Had my heart badly broken and clumsily splinted.

Complained to Allah.

Bought leather gloves and realized they don't keep my hands warm.

Wrote possibly the most painful, real post in my blog's history.

Opened one fortune cookie and regretted it.

Regretted at least 364 other things I can remember.

Was sad.

Still smiled.

Found that I had 500 facebook friends, but very few actual friends.

Cried a lot. Then laughed, then cried some more.

Will be going from age 23 to 24, God willing.
Perhaps 2010 brings something better.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

boy

My brother and his wife came back from hajj yesterday. They were gone for a month, and they left my 1.5 year-old nephew Adam with us. He was crazy; pulling out eggs from the fridge, making sure everyone was awake by banging on our doors and screaming, drawing all over his face with permanent marker, etc.

He's gone now, and I miss him.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hair Today, Guilty Tomorrow

I remember once when my younger sister was around 8 or 9 years old, we decided that I could cut her hair. I was probably around 15 or so. I don't think I got my mom's permission before I did it.

Well she looked normal before the haircut. After it, she looked like a mushroom head - because I decided to go creative and do "layers." Like so:


I think she looked in the mirror afterwards and realized her hair was exceedingly ugly. I felt bad and she tried to make me feel better. Even though I'm the one who ruined her hair.

You know when someone does something bad to you and they apologize profusely because they feel really bad about it - and you begin to feel guilty about their guilt, because it's excessive. It's weird that the roles get reversed like that. Humans are weird.

Either way, thank God her hair grew back. The end.

But also, someone really needs to kick me for the embarrassing lameness of this post's title.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Does anyone else find it ironic that "Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia" means the fear of long words?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Guess I know why it's called "Swiss" cheese. It's full of holes.

So now Switzerland has banned mosque minarets. Has it banned other religious architecture? Nope - they're not even trying to maintain an image of objectivity. It kind of offends me that they're not trying harder to spare our feelings:
Supporters of a ban claimed that allowing minarets would represent the growth of an ideology and a legal system - Sharia law - which are incompatible with Swiss democracy.

They are afraid of what minarets say about a potential Islamic takeover. What can I say, their reasonings are flawless - in fact, I should've called up the Swiss government when I was afraid of the boogie man under my bed...they seem to have impeccable insight and logic.

These I think are the next things that will likely be banned in Switzerland and elsewhere around the world as whities attempt to subdue Islamic forces from taking over their lands:

1. Miswaks: because damn those Mozlems for have clean teeth by any other method than the correct, democratically produced combination of a toothbrush and toothpaste!

2. Sensible shoes for women: all Muslim women will be forced by Western nations to be "equal" to other women. They will now force Muslim women to wear all forms of liberating hooker-boot footwear.

3. Halal meat: only animals slaughtered by pagans will be allowed in Muslim markets, because uttering the basmalah on a cow is sooo last century.

4. Samosas and curry: frankly, they are an affront to our democratically selected bland ways of eating.

Other items may include, but are not limited to: Shib shibs/Chappal, thobes, basmati rice, olive oil, prayer beads (tasbih), and Quran CDs hanging from your rear view mirror.


Not to minimize the situation or anything...but frankly, a world without samosas scares me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This is my Intelligence Quota of the Day

How do you define intelligence?

I was rummaging through some of my old things recently and I happened upon a series of notebooks where I had written poetry, thoughts, and reflections. They were actually very impressive - I haven't written really raw stuff like that in years. I also had a large collection of newspaper clippings (dating back almost 10 years) of stuff I was passionate (AKA angry) about.

And it made me start thinking about what "intelligence" really was. I would not have considered myself intelligent or enlightened as a teenager, but reflecting on the kinds of thoughts I put to paper and the things I cared about, I was a damn smart cookie.

We tend to dismiss young people and those amongst us seen as "uneducated" as somehow beneath our level of intelligence. Because at some point, some white guy defined intelligence as the ability to use the biggest words possible and understand language that only PhD students can wrangle with. If you're a math whiz, you're intelligent. If you need a calculator to do simple sums, you're dumb.

Well, I say screw that definition.

I'm going to use incorrect grammar and words that don't exist and still think I'm a brainer.

I'm going to finish my masters and still think I'm dumber than a doorknob.

I'm going to use a calculator to add 12 to 7 and still think I'm the smartest kid on the block.

I'm going to finish reading complicated texts cover to cover and still think bouncy balls and blowing bubbles is better.

Because intelligence isn't about what you can and can't do. Intelligence, to me, is a thought process. It's being courageous enough to believe in something and not back down from it unless you're proven to be wrong. Intelligence is knowing when to shut up. Intelligence is wisdom; and they can't be torn apart. Intelligence is recognizing God. Intelligence is being at peace with being different.

Entering a state of intelligence means you've realized you don't have to prove it to anyone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I find it highly problematic that someone found my blog by googling "dont desire marriage muslim female."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Somewhere over the rainbow...

I kind of wish I was in a black and white movie. Or over the rainbow. Whichever is more doable.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Joseph was kind,
the beautiful manifestation of faith:
full heart, firm patience.

His heart held no spite from the bottom of the well–
just overflowing faith,
only speaking good words about God
through prison bars and between dusty travels.

I found Your Joseph in history,
and I loved him.
Would that the Josephs of our time
were as beautiful.

Monday, November 02, 2009

What's all this talk about...Niqab?

Unless you have been living under a rock, you'll know that there has been major talk about niqab. The Muslim Canadian Congress released a statement in response to the issue (which first surfaced in Egypt): http://www.muslimcanadiancongress.org/20091008.html

I have nothing intricately intelligent to say with regards to the niqab issue. I have nothing to say about the religious backing for niqab, or the opinions of Islamic scholars. Essentially, this issue has nothing to do with that. It's about intolerance and racism.

But I would like to say is this: men need to stop telling women what and what not to wear. The thing that angers me the most is the presumptuous positions that people and groups take on issues that they have no experience with.

If you're a man, you've never had to experience the racism that comes along with wearing hijab or niqab. If you're a man, you haven't made that choice to wear something that will forever change the perceptions of people about you. You haven't, so what right do you have to speak on the issue as if you own it?

As for women who are speaking out against niqab - what if you're next? What if your clothing and way of life comes under the scrutiny of the government, and you feel powerless and hurt and defensive? If a niqab-ban is put into place, what and who is going to be next? When your turn comes, no one will be left to fight for you.

So stop talking, or we might make you stop.

Monday, October 26, 2009

No Longer Human

That's right. I am no longer a human. I am officially an email-replying, conference-call-making, minutes-taking, research-building, small-talk-yapping, organizing MACHINE.

Who does not have time for much sleep.

Eating, however, I always have time for. And I find myself eating more than usual these days. It's to make up for the lack of sleep, promise.

ish.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I have the memory of a goldfish; I don't remember what I had for breakfast this morning, or when any of my assignments are due. If I run into you and look a little uncomfortable, chances are I've forgotten your name. It makes multi-tasking a nightmare, because I will forget something extremely important.

But my heart remembers things much further back...and sometimes they are things I wish I could make it forget.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Organized Stalkers

Someone came to my blog from here. It makes me laugh. (Sorry for exposing you, stalker)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Unethicalnessness

Hi folks.

This year, I'm doing my social work placement at a hospital in Toronto. Gathering experience from my last placement as well as my current, I've come to the conclusion that unpaid internships/placements are unethical and problematic.

During my hospital orientation, one of the staff said "if it weren’t for the yearly social work students, we would not be able to function properly, or serve all the patients here." A statement like this makes me wonder about the use of my and other students' labour without proper (i.e. any) compensation. We're clearly an asset to the hospital – without which the hospital social workers would be there longer hours. So to use us without paying us seems like an unfair system.

To further this point, we are actually paying tuition through the nose to our educational institutions to give us these exploitative placements. That's right, "exploitative." Attempting to think about this logically will kill your brain cells. It is true that we gain valuable experience that will help us in our future employment opportunities and blah blah. But we could also learn just as well if we were being financially compensated.

I'm not saying I should be paid full wages with benefits. I'd like to simply point out the inherently unethical system.

End of rant. For now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lightening the Burden of Adulthood on Eid

Because apparently I don't have enough things to occupy my time, I decided to make Eid loot bags.


Contents: (halal) jelly beans, gumballs, chocolate, rockets, a lollipop, and those square caramel things. The plan is to carry around a bag full of these treats and give them away to people I see on Eid day.


I feel a little bit like Santa Claus, except not as...haram. Or fat. There is only one catch, though - no children allowed.

Don't get me wrong, I like kids. But man, they hog all the attention on Eid! I always see them running around in those cute suits and dresses with lollipops, chocolate, toys, etc. But adults - nothing. We all walk around composed and calm and adult-like. This bores me. Just because we've passed the age of 18, it doesn't mean we have to stop liking the things we liked as kids. Come on, would you really pass up a roll of rockets or a lollipop on Eid?

So I'm going to brighten up the dull lives of some of my all-too-serious friends on Eid day. If you're around, you might want to track me down and get your hands on one of these :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Is Your Mosque Packed?

'Cause mine is.

And when I say "mine," I really mean regardless of which mosque I've gone to this Ramadan, it's always overflowing with men, women, and children. Rarely are the air conditioners adequate or functional, and oftentimes oblivious mothers bring their 4 children to run and scream between rows of praying women. In fact, yesterday's taraweeh prayer was described by my mother as a "suq" (i.e. a loud marketplace). Truth hurts sometimes.

So here I am every Ramadan: standing to pray in a cramped line with one too many women, sweating, and watching little (and sometimes not-so-little) kids duck in and out of the rows as they play hide and seek around my abaya.

You'd think I'd hate it. You'd think I couldn't wait to get out of the mosque and back to 'civilized' detachment. But I dread the end of Ramadan. I want it to last and last, because amongst the slight annoyances we find at our mosques, we also find an unparalleled zeal to worship God. We come in droves to worship; regardless of age, gender, race, or religious leaning.

It's a little bewitching to know that in a week, the mosques will likely go back to their normal state of being visited only for Jum'ah prayer.

Sure, I may be idealizing, but why can't I? Ramadan makes communities happen, man. May Allah (swt) allow us to maintain the ties of community we've developed this month, and keep our minds and hearts close to Him.

Friday, September 11, 2009

ants and terror and tea

I used to take tea bags to work, so I could make tea there instead of buying a cup every day. Very economical of me.

Apparently I forgot one in my bag when Ramadan started. (As an aside, I actually dislike the word "purse"...I always refer to my "purse" as my "bag." Purse sounds so delicate and girly. I disapprove.)

Anyways, the forgotten tea bag snagged on something and covered all of my goods with little black tea granules. Which of course, I thought were ants at first - giving rise to a significant state of terror.

Then I got over it. And now I think I deserve at least a brief nap.

The end.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Top 10 Alhamdulillahs

When I feel overwhelmed with work, sometimes I take time out to make an "Alhamdulillah" list. They are not very eloquent.

1. Alhamdulillah that I woke up today with no real worries (except that I have to organize my room and stuff before school starts).

2. Alhamdulillah for the beautiful month of Ramadan, which is unprecedented in blessings and mercy from Allah (swt). Even when I go through trials of patience throughout the day, I know that when it comes time to break my fast, my stomach will smile. And when I go to pray taraweeh in congregation, my heart will be eased standing in front of my Creator.

3. Alhamdulillah for running water, which gives rise to showers that wash away the body's tense worries and furrowed brows.

4. Alhamdulillah for chocolate and all its variations. Because sometimes I just need a shot of chocolate to get me through the day - you actually can get chocolate shots here.

5. Alhamdulillah that I'm able to appear offline on gmail chat.

6. Alhamdulillah that You've helped me avoid bad things in life, even though I was ungrateful to You. Seriously, Allah (swt) has had my back in ways that were so unforeseeable that it boggles the logical mind.

7. Alhamdulillah for baby oil because it smells good. And babies like my nephew because they make my heart feel good.

8. Alhamdulillah for shib shibs so you can kill bugs that crawl into your house through open windows. Sorry little ones, but you and I can't live in peace.

9. Alhamdulillah for friends who can put a smile on your face when you're down, or give you a good kick in the pants when you're arrogant.

10. Alhamdulillah for the blessing of Islam. Otherwise, who and what would I turn to in times of need? And who and what would I turn to when my heart is happy and grateful and I need to thank someone?

Sigh, alhamdulillah.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hints that Social Work may not be the right field for you...

If your friend drops out of dinner plans because she's not feeling well and your response to her is:

"Shut up, you're coming. Don't be a jerk...and don't make me kick you in the face."

Just sayin'

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Remember when it was a wintery Ramadan? And we would, all 8 of us, get up so early for suhoor. It would be so cold that we'd crankily wrap ourselves up in blankets and shiver while eating cereal and milk and leftover dinner. Then we'd pray and fall asleep in the living room until the sunlight started peaking through the curtains. It would tug on our eyelids until they opened, and we'd trudge back upstairs to continue sleep in our beds.

And remember the crowded iftars? Us elbowing each other to see what time sunset was on the prayer chart. Then debating whether to pray or eat first. We'd always eat first. And then sprawled out on the same suhoor couches we'd lay until it was time to get ready for salah. Hours later we were yawning our way up the stairs for a few short moments of rest before having to repeat the pattern.

Our numbers slowly dwindle, and I sigh as I remember days when we were all here, growing up chaotically between meals and prayers.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ugly today

We have two public computers where I work. Tell me how a young guy comes in and starts watching porn, then gets offended when we ask him to leave, saying "I'm only human!" Keep in mind, this is a family-oriented centre.

Then when I was going home, as I was waiting for the streetcar, he had the audacity to come up to me and ask me for change. I wanted to punch him in the face.

Oh, and did I tell you about this crusty guy who was printing out a booklet with witchcraft and black magic spells? I flipped through his print-outs because he had left them there overnight.

I swear sometimes I wonder, really wonder, why I'm in this field.

Allahhul-musta'an.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mr. Asmaa

I was recently given a prominent leadership position in an Islamic organization in Toronto. Alhamdulillah. The amount of emails I have to sift through per day is mind-boggling, but I'm surviving and loving it.

I'm going to be honest: my leadership style is slightly dictatorial. I'm a stickler for organization and professionalism, and I communicate this clearly in all of my correspondences with volunteers and board members.

I recently overruled a decision that was made by one of the core members, and communicated this by stating more or less "this decision has been made, thank you." Afterwhich a volunteer replied, calling me "Mr. Asmaa" (jokingly, I assume).

It made me laugh at first, and frankly, I took it as a compliment because it meant I was professional and straight-forward.

And then it got me to thinking, why do we automatically associate clarity/straight-forwardness with masculinity? There are a lot of reasons that I don't feel like elaborating on right now. The main point though, is that now you may refer to me as Mr. Asmaa.

Thank you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Allah Knows

I posted this before, I'm sure. But I can't help posting it again; it's beautiful.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Happiness Solution

I miss Siraj Wahaj:



I now realize that I have wasted so much time being sad when my heart could have been contented instead; when I could have been smiling. I'm not wasting anymore time.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

With Every Hardship

Al-Ahad filled the depravity in these bones
with the sweetness of Iman.
He replaced this hopeless heart
with a live, beating one
that believed divine relief was just a few steps in the distance.

In the night I cried out to Him,
Ya Allah, Ya Allah
I ask you by all the Names you have revealed in Your book...

and He gave me the hardships He knew I could shoulder.
He gave me punishment to expiate my sins
and so I loved Him more,
though my heart was heavy with grief,
and my shoulders slumped from the weight of sadness.

Now every gust of wind that blows against my skin
satiates my limbs with the desire to meet Him,
and causes my eyes to close in imagination
of how the breeze in Paradise would feel,
how it would evaporate the lines of age and distress from my face.

Ya Allah, Ya Allah
my Lord, I am in anguish
that I replaced Your love in my heart with the love of people
and things
believing they would make me whole
but they disappointed my heart and left it barren.

Ya Allah, Ya Allah
I ask you through Your Name by which if you are asked, You will not reject Your servant...

and He gave me more difficulties,
but I withstood them
and I stood taller, bending my face towards His Light.

I wait for these moments, days, years to pass
until I meet my Rabb,
until I am able to bask in the brilliance of an everlasting rest,
until my heart is so full of love that it knows nothing else.

Ya Wadood
allow me to enter it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Allah Laughs

Laqeet bin Saburah narrates that the Messenger of Allah said: "Our Lord laughs over the despair of His slaves, when relief is so close."

So he (Laqeet) said: "O Messenger of Allah! And does the Lord laugh?"

He replied: "Na'am. (Yes.)"

Laqeet said: "We will never give up hope in receiving good from a Lord who laughs!"

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Her Umrah Du'a

A few months ago my friend went for Umrah for the first time. I was going through a rough patch, so I asked her to include me in her du'a.

A few weeks later I got an email from her saying she was back, and that she had made du'a for me. And what had amazed me about this was that she made du'a for me the first time she saw the ka'bah. Of all the prayers she could have made for herself and her family when her eyes first met the ka'bah, when she first felt that connection to history, to God, she chose me.

That she could love me enough to let that first du'a belong to me...gives me inexplicable happiness.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

how did you people get here?

Apparently a lot of people need to find halal skittles.

The top Google terms that lead to my blog are "halal skittles" or some variation of it. Searchers will happen upon "Halal Skittles".

The second most popular search term seems to be "you like my biodata" which leads to this post. The link is no longer active, but here it is on youtube if you're curious.

Another search was "BUY BEAUTIFUL HIJABS" (the person searching this topic was clearly very excited about this); the search leads here.

The creepy people Google "Asmaa ON Canada," or my full name. I feel stalked when that happens.

The nicer searches involve things like "amazing hadiths" which directs people here, or "Allah's tests" leading them here.

Some funny search terms have been "is poetry halal" and "how much does tarek love hala." That brings the searcher to "Halal Love Poem."

In conclusion: I am google-able!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm not going to lie, today started off very suckily for various reasons.

But then a woman said to me through tears "thank God for people like you." And today doesn't seem to be that sucky anymore.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

why Arabs cheer me up

I'm having an especially lousy and stinky day, but this made me laugh hysterically, thus making my heart feel better:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grocery Bag Lady

I decided to do an inventory of my purse today. This is what I found.

My wallet, keys, cellphone, cellphone charger, mp3 player, camera, chapstick, a lighter, a peanut butter sandwich, an apple, a peach, 2 mini cucumbers, a water bottle, empty coffee mug, a purple notebook, an umbrella, a spoon, two pens, and Nivea lotion.

I'm not going to lie. That's pretty impressive for one normal-sized purse.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hijabis...Unveiled!

As cornily stereotypical as the title of this post sounds, that's exactly what it's about. I went to a segregated Egyptian wedding last night, and thus this post is born.

For those of you who know Arab women, you know that they like to go all out for weddings. By "all out," I mean wearing relatively revealing and fancy/sparkly dresses, coiffured hair, make-up, crippling heels; the whole shebang. And I completely get it - most of these women are in hijab every day of their lives, so the opportunity to dress-to-kill is snatched up in a heartbeat.

I'm personally not a big fan of the overwhelming sparkliness & fanciness of Arab weddings, but I will admit that Arab women definitely know how to party it up. I'll leave the rest to your imagination, so I don't expose too many of our secrets.

So I was in this room, and I looked around and realized that there was an astounding amount of beautiful women all around me. I turned to a friend of mine and said "wow, the world is seriously missing out on all this beauty." I first said it in a humourous tone, but that statement really made me think about what it meant to purposely cover one's natural assets.

I've been a hijabi since I was 11 or 12, so I've become very accustomed to not being gawked at for my looks (not that I'm saying I would be gawked at, or that I'm especially good-looking...moving on...) I've become used to the idea that I'm the proverbial wall-flower in the realm of all-things-beauty. Whether I like it or not, I'm on the sidelines of fashion (regardless of how fashionable I might be - which I'm not at all).

What I'm trying to say is that it dawned on me just how much hijabi women give up of this material world for Islam. Sometimes we forget how much we give up just because we're so used to the idea of being covered. We give up being at the centre of attention, we're relegated to the "religiously observant" category of people who are sometimes silently scoffed at. I don't think we're generally considered beautiful.

But regardless of how good it might feel to be physically appealing, I'm so happy that I'm able to remove myself from that. It's really priceless how I can get ready in literally 5 minutes in the morning and still look put-together, even if I'm having a bad hair day. It's good to not have to worry about make-up running and smudging. It's good to not be concerned that my feet will kill after a day in heels. In short - it's good.

Of course there are definitely more fashion-forward hijabis out there who need to match their hijab pins with their shoes and purses and cell phone cases. But even those super stylish hijabis give up so much to be closer to Allah.

And this point is paramount when you see how physically beautiful these women are, but still willing to cover their beauty for God. Only then do you realize how much inner beauty they have, too.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Dying

Near the end of June, Neda was shot in the chest and died on the street. I watched the video of her death on youtube shortly after it was posted. I couldn't write about it til now because every time I thought about it, I felt nauseous and didn't have any of the right words. I still don't have the right words to express how the suddenness of her death affected me. Watch the video at your own risk.

For days afterwards I couldn't think about anything except dying. I kept picturing myself being hit by a car or being attacked and having my soul taken back from me in the middle of the street - with an audience, with very little dignity. Just suddenly, without warning, while I'm on my way home from work, or crossing the street to buy coffee. It could all be over in a matter of seconds. I would be only a sad memory to the people I love.

And I'm not ready. I know that no one will ever claim to be ready for death. But when I say I'm not ready, it's not because I'm too young, or because I haven't achieved the things I've aspired to. No, I'm too ashamed to die.

If I die now, in the middle of writing this post, I will be surprised if the angel of death wraps my soul in a sweet smelling cloth or calls me by beautiful names while we ascend towards the heavens. I will be surprised if my grave is made to be expansive, or I feel free from the shackles of this world.

If I die now, I have nothing to show Allah for my life. And I can't stand the thought that every pain I've felt in this world will not be relieved when my time runs out. I can't stand the thought that my sins may not be forgiven because of my insincerity and arrogance. How terrible does one have to be that Allah, the Most Merciful, the All-Forgiving, won't forgive his or her sins?

I'm not scared of death. Rather, I'm afraid that I won't get to see His face, that I won't get to breathe in the air of Jannah, that I won't be able to drink from Al-Kauthar so I'll never be thirsty again.

Our Lord, honour us in life and death, accept our silent repentances, ease our judgment and admit us into Your greatest honour of all - jannah.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

People hate me

A hysterical woman came to where I work, and she was desperate for help. Everyone was busy except for me, so I came out to help her. She took one look at me and said "I don't want HER."

A woman in dire need of assistance, and her racism prevented her from accepting help from me. I'm more sad for her than I am offended by her.

Similarly, a couple of days ago I was grocery shopping with my sister and an old woman grumbled past us. Right when I saw her face, I turned to my sister and said "it looks like she wants to yell some obscenities at us." And, Lo and behold, she growled at us saying "you should've stayed where you came from!" and then she hurried away.

The reason I was upset this time was because she offended my intelligence by not coming up with a more unique slur. If you're going to be crass enough to shout racist things at someone, at least be creative.

I've observed people's behaviour and I have concluded that roughly 18% of people hate me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I found a tiny piece of paper in an obscure pocket in my wallet just now that says: "Royal Message: oh you found me! LOL! You must have been bored & therefore...found me. LMAO. ROFL" (December 23, 2007). Courtesy of my little sister, no doubt.

I guess this can only mean one thing. I need a new wallet.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Definition of Irony

I was with my friend last week and I decided to change her cellphone voicemail to my voice saying this:
"Hello?....hello?....HELLO?...WHO IS THIS?.........haha just kidding leave a message." Beep.
And I was laughing & rubbing my hands with evil glee because people kept falling for it and having conversations with the recorded message.

And then I called her today...and I fell for it.

Excuse me while I go hang my head in shame.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Stink

Stink: (noun) a strong offensive smell; stench.

This stink I refer to is...the smell of unwashed skin, month-old sweaty clothing, never-brushed teeth, and occasional urine. Then add smoking/alcohol into the mix and you've got an explosively offending stench.

As a product of my field, I must help smelly people quite often. Now, I work in a low-income neighbourhood and I understand that poverty plays an important role in the physical state of a person. I am not a monster. But if I'm trying to help someone, and I can't come within a 50 metre radius because he or she smells so bad, then there is something wrong.

Seriously, there is only a certain amount of stink I can ingest into my lungs before I go into a stink-coma. I say "ingest" because the stink is so heavy and concentrated that I feel like it's actually settling in and eating away at my lungs.

If you have a home, you have access to a shower and can thus bathe yourself (homeless people I can excuse from this). You can buy a toothbrush & toothpaste at Dollarama. You can wash your clothes at a laundromat for a dollar. Or if that's too expensive for you, at least soak them in water and hang them out the window to dry - ANYTHING. I'm sorry if I'm being rude, but if any stinky people are reading this, PLEASE spare my weak nostrils from more assault.

My nose is so fatigued. In addition to this, I get extremely paranoid as I'm leaving work that I've somehow contracted the smell. I have to inconspicuously sniff my hijab and shirt as I walk out to make sure I'm not emanating the same smell.

Possible solutions that I have brainstormed:

1. Wear this shirt and hope my clients notice.

2. Wear a surgical mask and tell people it's because I'm afraid of swine flu.

3. Clothespin to pinch my nose.

4. Cover my face with my hijab and pretend it's because I'm very modest.

5. Quit my job. And field.

6. Just withstand it until it burns a hole in my lungs and/or stomach and consequently die.

Hmm.

When you Believe

Beautiful song.

Friday, June 19, 2009

to the girl on the bus who was wearing hooker heels & apparently forgot to wear pants today

1. Do you realize that you look sleazy, not pretty?

2. Did you feel the old man leaning dangerously close to you on the bus in order to sniff your hair?

3. Don't you understand that you attract looks of lust, and not admiration? And most of the men eying you are old and dirty.

4. I feel so sad that you are willingly objectifying yourself.

I feel like posting this on Missed Connections.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I bought the Twilight series for my little sister. She absolutely loves me for it. And yes, I am going to read them, too. Shut up.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beautiful Hijabs

I was buying a water bottle at Old Navy yesterday, and the young, white female cashier looked at me and said "wow your hee-job is beautiful!" And I was like "umm thanks, it was a gift..." while enchanting her with a confused smile. My sister later told me I should've done some da'wah to her by saying: "Why don't you try it out sometime?"

Then, this morning a Muslim woman came up to me on the subway and she's like "I see you around a lot and I notice you have really nice hijabs. Where do you get them from?" So I told her.

I just realized that there's no point to this post. Bye.

Actually there is - I have nice hijabs and even white people think so. So there.

Bye for real now. Bye.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So....that's all I think...okay bye...actually WAIT!

I recently needed to make a whole bunch of calls at my workplace. I realized very quickly that I leave the gayest voicemails ever (pardon my French). You know when you kind of babble in a voicemail and then realize it a little bit too late? Me.

This is what a typical voicemail of mine looks/sounds like:

Voicemail: Hi you've reached Vicky, please leave your name and number after the beep and I'll call you back. *Beep*

Hi this message is for Vicky. My name is Asmaa and I'm calling from (organization name). If you could give me a call back today, that would be great. My number here is...ummm hold on a sec. You know, I should really have this number memorized so I don't leave silly messages like this. Heh heh. (Scrambles around desperately to find a business card or something.) Okay here it is, 416-911-9111. Okay? So yeah, give me a call back today if you can. Or hey you could email me, too. My email is A as in apple, S as in sam, M as in man, H as in horse, U as in...U. S as in sam and S as in sam. at yahoo.ca. And uhhh...yeah I think that should be it for now. Thanks, bye. Oh sorry, one more thing by the way: this is regarding the client Bob Loblaw that I need information about. Okay bye for real now. Bye.

Who wouldn't want to kick me in the face after that?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I am Tall

Woman #1: "how tall is your husband?"

Woman #2: "as tall as her" (points to Asmaa).

Sunday, June 07, 2009

What do you dream?

I was having a talk with my brother today, and he asked me something I found shocking: "what do you dream?" And he said that my list could be anything I wanted - it was my utopia, my ideal, my own "genie in a bottle" three wishes.

It took me a while, but I came up with a list of things I dream for in my life. But the content of the list is not as important as the question - what do you dream? And how many of us have asked ourselves that? How many of us have allowed ourselves to unshackle the fetters around our minds and hearts, and just dream something?

As we grow older, it seems our capacity to dream is diminished. I want to start over - I want to dream again.

It reminds me of a hadith where the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sitting with some companions and he said to them: "tamannu" (wish). And the companions wished for the things they wanted - some wished for wealth to donate in the cause of Allah, some wished for martyrdom. But what struck me the most about this hadith is that specific question and demand - wish.

The messenger (S.A.W.) said, "Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him, and whoever hates to meet Allah, Allah hates to meet him" (Bukhari). I dream to be among those who love to meet Allah.

And I dream that our future looks something like this.



What do you dream?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

This past month is the first time I've contemplated the possibility of living the rest of my life alone.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

a summary of today

Best food item of the day:

Cherries. And nutella. (Not together, but it's an interesting idea.)

Best conversation of the day:

Placement supervisor: Asmaa I just wanted to let you know, I'm going to start paying you on Monday.

Asmaa: oh, okay. Cool.

(My placement supervisor hired me for a summer student position.)

Funniest Youtube clip of the day:



Worst moment of the day:

Paper cut followed by talking to a client who had damaging breath.

Best quote from an email forward of the day:

"If a man takes five showers a day, his body will be clean. Praying five times a day helps me clean my mind." -Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

How far would you go for love?

CAIRO -- A 25-year-old Egyptian man cut off his own penis to spite his family after he was refused permission to marry a girl from a lower class family, police reported Sunday.

After unsuccessfully petitioning his father for two years to marry the girl, the man heated up a knife and sliced off his reproductive organ, said a police official.

The man was rushed to the hospital but doctors were unable to reattach the severed member.
No comments of mine will come close to elucidating this story, so I shall refrain.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Stalker Heaven

So I'm sure that most of you are acquainted with Craigslist. Now, I was looking at Craigslist because I had to put up an event posting for my supervisor. And I happened upon a section called "Missed Connections."

I have to be honest, I sat and read this for almost an hour. I was appalled at the ludicrousness (is that a word?) of the people who post in this section. Here's a little sample for those of you who are too lazy to click on the link:

My friend and I were walking in and about Kensington yesterday. We saw you on a side street at about four, with an adorable spotted dog named Boo. We pet your dog, commented on how cute she is, and then chickened out from telling you how cute you are. We walked away and realized we were stupid for not inviting you to join us. But when we looked back, you were getting into a car with your dog.

You have blonde hair and blue eyes. If you are single, then message me! We both liked you.
I was the tall Caucasian guy with dark hair near the entrance yesterday. I wanted to tell you how hot you were, but just kept walking...
you walked into the elevator as I was stepping out. I was stunned enough to let you in before exiting. you looked gorgeous ..too bad I let the door close on me..would've liked to say hi atleast :P
And the absolute cream of the crop:
You: Around 12:30ish AMm Friday nite, were with 2 girlfriends; you wear wearing white-capri pants; you had shoulder length straight-brown hair, and you totally looked like that actress chick!

Me: I was there by myself, but chatting away with dude at the cashier; navy blue pants, blue-ish pinstripe dress shirt, navy blue blazer; olive complexion handsome Indian dude.

Us: We kept exchanging distant stares, glares, and smiles. ;-)

I hope you see this, if not, oh well, it's worth a shot anyways. I would've broken my shyness and spoken to you, but you know how it is with these thing... (PS - In order to keep the unsolicited creeps from e-mailing me, if you are indeed the right person, do describe to me your two girl friends, because this way, only you & I would know this information correctly, LOL).
I really don't have much to say...I mean, who wouldn't find this creepy? Someone catches your eye for a moment, and instead of a) striking up a conversation like a normal person, or b) leaving them the hell alone, you post personal details about them on a random website in hopes that they will magically see it, respond, become your internet chat friend, and finally marry you.

I want to punch these people in their faces.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life in Perspective

I dreamt he married a girl in a dark auditorium. They were wearing regular clothes because they had only just met a few hours before and decided to tie the knot. She wore a flowing skirt and hijab. They were excited, but I felt sad and worried for them both.

The next day she was walking with him, but wearing significantly less modest clothing - but still donned a hijab. I wondered judgmentally - why doesn't he say something to her? Why doesn't he advise her to be dressed like she was the first day? But he didn't.

The following day I was with her, and she had ceased wearing hijab altogether. She was wearing his jacket as we walked in the cold. Suddenly, she took it off and thrust it at me and said "I don't want it, Asmaa. You take it."

So I did.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

bearded bounce

I just realized that I can post graffiti from facebook onto here, even though it takes up more space than it's supposed to. I did this one for my friend a while ago and it makes me laugh...

Photo Summary of Egypt

Because I'm at my placement in Parkdale and I am trying to distract myself from the man who is talking to himself. And pictures are always a nice break from a blog's verbal diarrhea.

Very Islamic juice, mashaAllah:


Fruit stand:



Here fishy fishy fishy:


Cats are balled up in every corner and crevice possible:


Egypt is a place full of history...which doesn't necessarily mean they can spell it.


In case you forget who the president is:


And finally, the mosques are beautiful.


The end.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

can I please give up?

Naturally, a young woman in her 20's must desperately be in want of a husband. And as such, every relative in her family (and then some) plots and plans for her to meet a suitable boy. I've had my share of awkward marriage situations and stories.

I was recently in the motherland, and such a situation did arise...an aunt had expressed her desire for me to meet a particular fellow. Now, for many reasons that I probably outlined in detail before, I tend to glance upon cross-continental marriages with a weary eye. But when I was in Egypt, I was tired and I felt vulnerable. So I gave in. Yes, I buckled under the pressure and decided to venture into the unknown by meeting this dude a few days before I left for Canada.

Now picture this: I'm sitting in a room with not only a bearded male I have never laid eyes on before this moment, but also his mother, sister, nephew, and father; as well as my aunt and her husband. Each one glaring and evaluating my every word and movement. I felt physically sick.

The meeting was over after I asked the guy exactly three questions:

1. Do you ever want to move out of Egypt? "No" (I don't want to live in Egypt).

2. What do you think of niqab? "It's required" (I don't want to wear niqab).

3. What do you think of your wife working? "I'd rather her not work at all" (I want to work).

It was literally over in less than 5 minutes. And I was so mad that I let my family members even talk me into meeting this dude. Even when I'm writing this I'm mad. At this point, it dawned on me that my parents have no idea what I want in a husband. And that made me sad. And for those of you who are thinking "why don't you just tell them what you want?" - it's not that simple you jerks.

Anyways, can I just give up on this? My heart hurts and I'm so tired. Can someone just tell me I'm allowed to give up?
because it's a beautiful song, and it makes my heart feel melancholic.



There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust
This is a place where I don't feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home

Cause, I built a home
for you
for me
Until it disappeared
from me
from you

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust.

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree as old as me
Branches were sewn by the color of green
Ground had arose and passed its knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me

Cause, I built a home
for you
for me
Until it disappeared
from me
from you

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Foliage

The first thing I noticed when I came back to Toronto was the foliage. When I left in April, there weren't any leaves on the trees. And now they're full and blossoming. And there's grass and dandelions everywhere.

It makes me want to take my shoes and socks off and skip along and roll around in the grass until my face becomes red and puffy from allergies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sometimes I wonder how I'll ever be a social worker when I can't even seem to manage my own problems.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

homebound

I'm leaving tonight back to Toronto, meaning I'll be back Wednesday afternoon inshaAllah. I miss Canada. I miss people being scared of the way I dress as opposed to guys checking me out regardless. But to my credit, I'm generally quite rude to guys who try to start up conversations here (mainly at the internet cafe where I am now).

For example:

Guy: is it hot or is it just me?

Me: yeah it's hot.

Guy: (yells to the owner: "put the AC on!")

Guy: it's a good thing you talked, because I thought you were a foreigner (nasty twinkle in his eye).

Me: (I look at him with no facial expression, and look away)

Guy: Fine (offended voice).

Okay it doesn't sound that funny...you just had to be there...argh Egypt is ruining my humour!

Bye.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I was dissecting my dua recently and I found that when I make dua, I always ask Allah by His Mercy and Forgiveness; not by His Justice. Because if He truly employed only Justice without Mercy, surely I would never get anything I asked for. I'm not deserving of any of the things I ask for.

And on a side note, after reading the autobiography of Malcolm X and watching the whole first season of Boondocks, I find myself very angry at white people. I need to check myself before I wreck myself.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Egypt list

I like lists. This is a list of random Egyptian facts and/or stuff that has happened to me:

1. People can somehow always tell I’m not really Egyptian right when I open my mouth. Apparently I have a very obvious accent. People ask me where I’m from, and I always indignantly say “ana masriya” and walk away. The thing that makes me wonder though, is that in Canada, I’m Egyptian. In Egypt I’m Canadian. Talk about the fluidity of identity.

2. A taxi driver offered me his son’s hand in marriage.

3. I started reading Malcolm X’s autobiography in a taxi (the same taxi where a marriage proposal was made. I had to look busy). Brilliant book thus far, and that’s not surprising.

4. I prayed Jumu’ah at this mosque that’s nearly on the seashore. And we prayed outside because there was no space left in the mosque. Have you ever prayed with so many other Muslims while in the presence of the sea’s breeze? It’s something else. During Jumu’ah, lots of stores are closed (some aren’t, naturally), and the streets are unusually empty. There are merchants that set up their stalls on the street outside the mosque, and right when the imam finishes the prayer, you can hear them all begin shouting in unison and promoting their sale items.

5. Insects: today I got my first flea bites. I’ve kind of been waiting for them, it’s some kind of rite of passage for me. I probably contracted them yesterday when we were walking through this market that sells chickens and rabbits. And I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes in the first few days I was here. My face was literally swollen – I got bitten several times on my nose, forehead, cheek, and my eyelid. Bloodthirsty wretches.

6. As I’m typing this, I’m hearing asr’s overlapping adhans from two or three mosques in the vicinity.

7. A falafel sandwich here costs one pound. That’s the equivalent of...about 22 cents.

And for the naysayers who always assume travelling to Egypt = getting married, my ring finger is still bare. Although the taxi driver’s son seemed like a fair prospect. Hmm.

Twelve more days here, then I come home inshaAllah.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

In the remembrance of God

Alexandria is a beautiful city. This time of year is not as crowded as usual, although I still fear for my life (i.e. that I’ll be run over by a car) whenever I’m out. The weather is also quite lovely – sunny and warm during the day, but still enough breeze and shade to be comfortable.

I received some sad news a few days ago, and the beauty of this city began to wilt before my eyes. Regardless of how many palm trees were set against the horizon, or how bewitching the crescent moon looked in the night sky, I couldn’t derive any joy from it. Before the sad news, everything was an adventure. After it, every day seemed like a chore. Every trip to the corner store to buy bread or milk, every taxi ride and outing felt meaningless and empty.

When I’m sad, I don’t binge eat or want to lie in front of the television for hours on end. I don’t want to complain to people, or “drown my sorrows.” I’ve tried all these routes before (except for drowning my sorrows), and none of them make a positive difference. Food loses its sweetness; television numbs one’s mind momentarily but achieves no effect; complaining to people often makes matters worse, especially when they agree with your sadness, therefore serving to reinforce it.

I keep to myself when I’m sad here. The days are quiet and my heart is uneasy; there is no daily bustle to occupy my mind and limbs or good friends to distract my thoughts. It’s not a loneliness that I can describe in words; rather, it’s something you need to touch, feel, and experience yourself.

These days I’ve been replaying the verse in my mind: “ala bi dhikr-illahi tatma’in al-quloob” “verily in the remembrance of God do hearts find peace and comfort.” When I take the time to reflect on this, I find it quite fascinating how I sometimes try to circumvent the most obvious solution to my problems.

I cannot physically rectify the circumstances to soothe my sadness; I cannot speak words of apology to anyone or offer any material goods as reparation. I am completely powerless to change the sad news. What humbling moments this sadness has exposed my heart to! It has reminded me that it is only Allah who has power over our affairs. And when we are confident that things will turn out a certain way because of our own efforts, that confidence is often shaken by Allah’s ultimate Will.

I believe that these things happen to shake the foundations of our disobedience. Only the sin of true arrogance could have made me believe that I was in control of my future. And although there is a silent but profound sadness in this heart, I will still always believe at my core that Allah is the Most Merciful. I remember the verse: “‘asa an takrahu shay’un wa huwa khairun lak,” sometimes you feel hatred towards the things that are actually good for you. And sometimes you feel love towards that which will bring you harm. Allah’s Mercy could very well be manifested in the thing that hurts you the most right now. Perhaps this hurt is the seed to something beautiful.

My sister had a baby girl that same night I received the news, right before fajr. Feeling the weight on my heart, and watching my sister go through labour pains, it dawned on me that this life is not meant to be easy. At every turn there is some new challenge, some looming hardship. But we are made out of difficult times; easy times do not mould the people we become. Adversity is what makes our roots grow firmer into the ground. Adversity waters the soil so that the branches of our Iman may reach up towards the sky.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

bye

As is usual with my family's last-minute-ness, mom and I are heading to Egypt for 4 weeks to visit my sister who's going to have a baby inshaAllah. We basically bought our tickets on Friday. I leave the 23rd of April. I'll try to take some pictures for your entertainment, naturally.

I have to clean my room now (which is really an arduous task considering I have not properly organized any of my things since starting my masters in September). Woohoo.

Every time I tell someone, the person jumps in and says "OH ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED?? WINK WINK" because of course, a female of my age-range cannot go anywhere overseas without the express intention of getting hitched.

My life does not revolve around marriage. So, no, I'm not getting married you ugly jerks.

Good day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I always thought "gumption" was a dumb word. but now I know better.

This morning when I woke up for fajr I stubbed the baby toe on my left foot very hard. And it still hurts. I was limping on the way to my placement. And now I have my shoe off because it hurts. I wanna go to the doctor and have him give me a lollipop. Preferably a very large one like this:

In other news, this little old lady came in today to get some help with her housing situation. Then when we were done, she's like "thank you dear" (in her lil ol' lady voice) and she pulled out this Casino Rama card she got in the mail. She wanted me to fill out a survey for her online (she doesn't know how to use a computer) so that she could be entered to win some grand prize.

And for a split second I thought: is this woman essentially asking me to gamble for her? So for a few seconds I stared at the card she gave me, and looked at her sweet lil ol' lady face. And I said: I'm sorry, I can't do this for you because I don't want to be involved in anything related to gambling.

She was puzzled, but I directed her to someone else, and then thought to myself: THAT'S WHAT YOU CALL GUMPTION!

Ahem. I need chocolate in my system or something. Excuse me while I ingest something.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

unrelated

This makes my uterus hurt (that catch phrase was invented by sara mir)

omg-lolz-teehee-*blush* girls

This morning on the bus there were two girls sitting behind me. They were around 15-16 years old and I was listening to their conversation. No no, I was forced to hear it because they were talking loudly.
Girl 1: and then he said he needed a pic of me for his phone, but then I blocked the camera so he only got a pic of my hair and hand *giggle* but then he took a real one and I looked horrible. But he said I looked nice. I love him.

Girl 2: *giggle* that's so 'effing sweet.

Girl 1: yeah and then he called me and I was so happy because I didn't think he would call. And then he's like "what? did you think I wasn't going to call?" *giggle* Then his mom was calling him for dinner and I'm like "do you have to go?" and he's like "no it's okay I'm enjoying talking to you." It was sooo sweet, I love him so much. I'm such a loser for love, eh? *giggle*

Girl 2: yeah omg you guys totally made an impression on each other. That's so sweet! *giggle*
And then I realized why I must have my earphones on at all times when I'm taking public transit. Even if I'm just listening to white noise.

Also, I just realized my 4 year blog anniversary (blogiversary?) is coming up on 10 days. I wonder what I should do to celebrate (or mourn?).

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Today I heard a client saying "I'm fed up, I just want to die."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I wonder why we get so worried about everything in this life, but worry so little about the hereafter.

In this life, you win some, you lose some. That's how the system works. In the hereafter, if you lose...you lose it all and forever.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

:'(

I just saw a cockroach at my placement. Just walking like it owned the whole world. Ugly nasty thing. I feel itchy and twitchy. And now every few minutes, I imagine something crawling on my hand or foot, and I jerk my body. So I look a little bit insane.

They are the one kind of insect that I'm extremely grossed out by. I've actually had very vivid nightmares about cockroaches in the past.

Well then, I guess I'll be calling in sick tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

fun times

10th grade French class. A boy turns around to me and says "I hate Wednesdays. There's nothing to look forward to, and nothing to look back on." Then he turns back around in his seat.

I just remembered that right now.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

One day my hands were cold, so I felt it would be best if I put them in my pockets. I proceeded to do so, and consequently found that there was a single cookie in my jacket pocket. I was somewhat unsure of how it got there. But I ate it anyways.

The end.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where are you from?

At my placement, clients are absolutely fascinated by my ethnic background. After I help them with whatever they need, they insist on asking me where I'm from. At first I used to answer with a smile and a generic "I was born in Toronto." But it doesn't fly.

No, no, where are you really FROM?

So I gave up. I now just tell them I'm Egyptian. The next question is always: "oh, do you speak Arabic/3arabi?" I can't understand why some clients ask this when they themselves don't speak it.

I've noticed that poverty makes tact a frill.

Also, this is slightly unrelated but I need to say it anyways: why do non-Muslims always pick the most peripheral issues in Islam to talk about? I was at another community agency and this employee was talking to me about Islam, and the only concern he had about it was that Muslim women were not allowed to marry non-Muslim men. Was he at all concerned with Islamic creed? Issues around terrorism? Wars? Life after death? Nope. Just "what if a Muslim girl falls in love with a Christian or Jew or Hindu???"

He gave me a headache.

I lose my patience with people pretty fast. I'm starting to think social work isn't the right field for me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where do you pray?

The first day I came to my placement, my supervisor was giving me a tour of the premises. The only thing I could think of was observing the various nooks and corners where I could pray when I needed to. After the tour, I asked her if there were any quiet rooms I could pray in. She looked at me and said "wow, you really are very observant of your religion, aren't you?" (Considering I look like a "nun," is that really hard to believe?)

Actually I love my supervisor, she's pretty much the nicest person alive (after me, of course).

There's a little corner in the basement of this building where I go to pray. It's carpeted and it has lockers for employees to put their stuff in. A couple of times people have walked in on me and have been kind of afraid, insisting on apologizing afterwards. Some asked me "don't you need a bigger or quieter space?" And I say no, I don't. I don't think prayer is so separate from your daily life that you need to find a completely secluded place in some boiler room. Rather, you find a place where you already are and make it your own. If you work there, then surely you can pray there as well.

This makes me think of all the interesting places I've prayed while having random miscellaneous jobs. I prayed in a park once when I worked at an elementary school. In staff rooms, in other abandoned rooms. In hallways. Parking lots. And I like it that way. After all, every place we put our foreheads to the ground will be a witness for us on the day of Judgment.

So, no, I don't want a quieter place, or even a designated one for now. I just want enough space for my knees and head and enough time to ask of God.

And I know this makes you think of this. Good!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

blogging from bed

This morning I arose to go to my morning class and started to get ready, then suddenly I felt like someone threw a brick my stomach. So what did I do? I pulled back my covers, and laid in bed until now (1:35pm) fully dressed to go out. It's kind of funny.

I think I have food poisoning considering the fact that I feel physically ill when I think about food. The timing is great since I was supposed to submit an assignment today. That's clearly not going to happen.

Also, I wish my mom was here to take care of me.

And that is all. Just thought I'd update you with my current predicament. Hurrah.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today's Ugliness

I meet new creepy people every day. Today's story goes something like this:

Man: hi.

Me: hi.

Man: madame?

Me: yes?

Man: I'm looking for a Muslim girl for marriage.

Me: no.

Not only did I say no, but I also kind of waved him away with my hand, and had a look of disgust on my face. Rude Asmaa as usual.

As an aside, I wonder if this approach has ever worked for any man in history.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I know a boy who's six feet tall,
he rides the bus to school.
he aces papers and gets all the jobs,
but he's still a big old fool.

he buys expensive footwear
to impress all the pretty girls,
and wants to line his gummy smile
with gold teeth and a string of pearls.

he writes sharp words and puts them in beat,
popping his collar along the way,
he keeps a cool exterior
as though his heart cannot be swayed.

but we all know it's the tough who are soft,
their roughness falls apart,
with her first fluttering of eyelashes
that he begins to memorize by heart.

the boy is dead gone for her
it amuses me to say,
his fanciness is a thing of the past, and
he's enraptured in disarray.

what will become of this silly boy...
this writer does not know,
but let a few months pass him by, and
we'll see where this zephyr blows.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunday, March 08, 2009

that cutie patootie

I have to post this simply due to the fact that my nephew is so cute. It's been almost 10 months since he was born, and I still can't get over it. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

this is ugly

I'm currently sitting at the front desk at my placement, in order to assist drop-in clients. There's a man sitting here just looking at me and muttering under his breath. He seems okay, but I am still creeped out. Dumb ugly social work. Bye.

Edit: now he's looking at me and laughing :(

Monday, March 02, 2009

Dates

I love dates.

Candle-lit dinners, walks along the beach, dark movie theaters...sigh.

Okay let's set aside the corny jokes about "dates" so I can say I'm talking about the dates that come off of palm trees.

I have some today and I'm eating them in class (yeah I'm in class, we're probably talking about something important, but I guess I'll never know).

It doesn't seem to me that many non-immigrants (i.e. white folks) eat dates. Am I wrong? Whenever I offer dates to my classmates they look at them and say with a confused look: "what are those?"

It saddens me to know that people live their lives bereft of such an enjoyable food item. Even with Muslims - when I offer them dates they also say with a confused expression: "but it's not Ramadan!"

Those fools.

There is no bad time for dates, that's my motto.



Time to return to the real world. *sigh*

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

conjure up your own context to this

I find that when Allah (swt) gives us something He knows we are going to stumble on, He also gives us something to grab onto for balance. I can barely believe how merciful Allah (swt) is. It's really indescribable.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Procrastination in form of Pocahontas

Because I have a paper due tomorrow, I decided to watch Pocahontas today. Despite its strange colonialist representations, this will always be classic:



Sigh. Okay, my work here is done.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

what I really do in class

I just spent 3 solid hours doing research for a paper that's due in 8 hours, then my stupid computer logged me off the university portal thingy, and I lost all my research history. I have to start from scratch. That doesn't work for someone like me who has the attention-span of a fruit fly.

Pardon me while I go cry in the corner.

Friday, February 06, 2009

purple candy

I hate every variation of purple candy. I find it despicably ugly-tasting. Yes, I just described something as tasting "ugly" and you can't do anything about it.

Getting back to my point. I bought a pack of sweet tarts yesterday from Dollarama (best store ever) and I opened the pack only to find a large number of the candies to be purple (about 30%). Now, this angered me. I paid a good 50 cents (plus tax) for this candy, and I get stuck with half of them tasting ugly.

I wonder why candy manufacturers even bother making purple/"grape" flavoured candies. Who likes them? Grape juice is also pretty bad. The only grape/purple flavoured thing I like, is popsicles. Grape popsicles are good.

(Okay, so I'm writing a post about candy because I've been experiencing some fairly depressing things at my placement. And I needed to get them off my mind for a bit. More on that later.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

I find it ironic that the word "monosyllabic" is made up of 5 syllables.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Coffee Time is my New Homie

After the year 2008 which was bereft of winning anything from Tim Hortons' Roll up the Rim to Win contest, I finally got my break! I was practically crying last year (see this and this) because I wasn't winning anything.

This morning on my way to my placement, I ambled over to Coffee Time (Tim Hortons is too scared to set up shop in this "scary" neighbourhood). I got a medium French Vanilla, and Lo and Behold, I won! It's not a great picture, but it does the job well enough.


In your face, dumb Tim Hortons! My loyalties to you are over!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Old Filipino Men

Every morning I run into the crossing guard that patrols the area in front of my building. We're on friendly terms, and if I'm not about to miss my bus, I usually stop to talk to him for a little while. He's an older Filipino man.

Just picture this: I can't believe how cute I am here.

So this morning I walked out of my building, and as I passed him, he said "you look sad." And I said to him "oh no, I'm not sad, just very tired." But it struck me that he actually noticed my face was different than usual. Not only did he point it out, but he also mentioned it to me out of friendly concern.

I mean, I'm not actually sad. I just don't know many other people who would care enough to mention it. That's why I like him, and I think he likes me, too.

There's another older Filipino man that works at U of T as a caretaker (old Filipino men rock) and today he was talking to a friend and I for 1 hour about how he came to Canada. First, he defected from the army because he didn't want to kill innocent people, then he had to fight his case in front of a judge. Then he secretly got married to a woman he loved. Then they came to Canada, and they have 2 adopted children. Then he told us a lot about how to plant bananas.

In short, old people are nice, and they have some interesting stories. Get to know them.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sometimes I want to stop pretending like I'm strong and free. And raise my white flag, quietly admitting that I'm weak and constrained. Trying to be strong is exhausting, I don't want to do it anymore.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rejection Hotline

I'm probably years behind, but my little sister recently introduced me to this, and I found it quite brilliant.

In theory you give this number to someone who asks for your number (if you're not so interested in him/her): 647-476-4910

Try it. It gave me a bit of a laugh.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

16 random stuff (yes, I used "stuff" in the plural)

I have been tagged by Iffat to enlighten you with "16 random things, facts, habits, or goals" about me. And naturally, I always comply with tags, because I am very nice.

1. Today I spelled wimps "whimps" and it made me ashamed.

2. Once I had this rishta thing/"blind date" as my brother likes to call them. The guy rang the doorbell, and I opened the door and I pretended like he had the wrong house. (Hey, if I'm going to do something awkward, why not make it fun, too?) He looked very confused, so I said I was joking. Anyways, he didn't come back.

3. I broke my glasses a few days ago. You know when you get up in the morning and you're still 90% asleep? I grabbed for the spectacles and knocked them over instead. I now walk around with a big crack in one of my lenses. I think it adds character.

4. Hi.

5. I had a dream that my nephew (8 months old) came up to me and said "hi." That was the whole dream. I have snippets of retarded dreams like this on a regular basis.

6. Only guys who are shorter than me want to marry me.

7. I like purple these days. Dark purple.

8. I found a video of Barack Obama dancing. It's really just the bees knees.

9. I say things like "bees knees" and other outdated phrases.

10. I like sappy stuff like this.

11. One of my goals is to change the world. Yes, I want to change the world. And I don't think it's an unreasonable goal. My definition of changing the world is making a positive difference in people's lives, one person at a time. Maybe when I die the world won't be all that different, but their worlds will be. InshaAllah.

12. I own a fake beard, and a (separate) fake mustache. That I wear on occasion.

13. The sillier things are, the more I like them.

14. If I ever decided to quit social work, I'd definitely become a wedding planner. I don't think anyone would hire me, but I'd have a business card anyways.

15. I judge a book by its cover, and I'm not sorry.

16. I hate endings. Of any sort.

Unfortunately, the end. Get on with your lives, people.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

thus far

As part of my social work program, I'm doing a placement at a community centre in Parkdale. So far (this is only my 4th day) I've seen:

1. Several drunk men.
2. A man with a dog that wasn't on a leash (much scarier than drunk men).
3. A fire truck coming to pick up a man who fainted. (Why a fire truck? The man wasn't on fire.)
4. A man who was banned from the centre for making threats came back to yell at the security guard.
5. A Tibetan man who named both of his children "Tenzin." One is a boy, one is a girl. I don't get it, but okay.

I need to see more action, baby!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Buttons or a Lack Thereof

Okay. I have a problem. Well, one amongst many. Namely, the buttons on my clothes keep falling off. Now, I'm not sure if I'm simply handling them too hard, or I suddenly gained 30 lbs and my buttons feel the need to pop.

It is very unnerving to see your buttons hanging by a thread, and you being forced to rip them off lest they roll into the street whilst you're walking around blissfully unaware.

Then you make solemn promises to yourself that you will sew them right back on when you get home. But the allures of the couch and dinner are far too strong! Thus, you are left with clothing that is missing a button or two, silently hoping no one will notice.

Damn you, buttons!

Friday, January 16, 2009

be the change you want to see in the world

I have spent the last week or so holed up in my room in front of my computer screen reading about the Genocide in Gaza, watching documentaries, and feeling absolute helplessness. I have not done a single reading for this semester's courses as of yet. I have so far skipped two classes since January 5 (out of six classes).

I find it difficult, and slightly unbearable to sit through meaningless class exercises or conjure up words of small talk with classmates or friends. It feels fake and shameful. I'm exhausted. And I'm beginning to believe that this feeling of incapacity is part of a larger problem. It isn't simply about Gaza. It's about you and I and Muslims around the world.

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran: "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)" (13:11).

There are enough blogs and outspoken individuals condemning Israel for its horrific war crimes. Instead of me ranting about Israel, how about we take a look at ourselves? At the state of spineless Muslims around the world. Every Arab country is supporting Israel, whether through their refusal to open their borders (read: Egypt) or by simply remaining silent. It astounds me, really. And this is not unique to the Palestinian struggle. Our "leaders" no longer care about what happens to human beings, they only care about it if it affects the dollar amounts in their own pockets.

Let's set aside the fact that the killing continues as I write this. Let's set aside the fact that every hour that passes leaves more people dead and injured. What disturbs me the most is that some of us have lost our humanity. Our ability to feel sadness and empathy is what makes us human beings. For any of us who cannot feel this, I have no words for you.

This is for me, this is for you. Not for the cowardly men who claim to be our leaders, not for the Zionist murderers. I have lost hope in them all. But I haven't lost hope in us, the common people. I haven't lost hope that we can turn to Allah in sincere prayer, and ask for the liberation of our people around the world. But don't stop there. We are in such dire need of the Mercy of Allah. Each one of us. It hurts to think how much mercy we need. Ask for it.

And finally, I haven't lost hope in you and I being the change we want to see in the world. If we want peace, we have to start within our selves. Is your own heart at peace? Ask yourself that question and answer it truthfully, honestly, and without restraint. Is our family at peace? Is our local community at peace? If we don't have peace here, how can we assume peace will come elsewhere?

I know how difficult it is to continue life smiling in the faces of people while your heart is enraged and sorrowful all at once. I know that the images we've been seeing have left a permanent imprint in our minds. But unfortunately, most of us cannot change what we see with our hands, or even our mouths.

But we can hate it in our hearts, and we can struggle to bring peace here, in ourselves and our own communities that also suffer a great deal from many problems.

Allah (swt) says His victory is near. And I do not doubt that for one minute. But the only way it will come, is when you and I decide that it's time to change ourselves.