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.


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 inexplicable happiness.