Archives for February 2010

Shy Mother, Shy Daughter

Around strangers, teachers, and acquaintances, my four and a half year old daughter is almost completely mute. Her fingers crammed in her mouth and her sullen eyes downcast, her pediatrician asked me if she was, “a little infantile, no?”The comment was annoying, but it did not trouble me. I know that my girl is exuberant and brazen around people she is comfortable with, which include a wide circle of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. She throws her head back and laughs like a … [Read more...]

The Blissful Home

What is it that makes a house our home? Where does comfort, “Gemuetlichkeit”, come from? What are the things that make us feel cozy and warm? What is the secret of creating a soulful, welcoming atmosphere with a lovely spirit in our houses?I am a real home bird, a homebody that loves to be “chez moi”.With the (...) cold season and shifting more inside, I am asking myself often questions on how to beautify our own rooms and how to create a surrounding that would please Allah, a house the Pro … [Read more...]

The Seeds of Taqwa

I recently came across an elementary student’s written reflections on how to improve her behavior. She wrote something to the effect: “I think I can improve my behavior by having more taqwa. When I have taqwa, I feel that Allah (SWT) is watching me. I also remember that my classmates are my brothers and sisters…”Allah is watching me. It sounds like a title of a children’s theme song. However, we as adults certainly need to be reminded of this. In the end, our actions, big or small, done … [Read more...]

Hard Work

I was always a smart student, in a sense. I could get A’s barely studying and figure out how to write the essay that would impress the instructor but take minimal effort from me. I knew all the shortcuts that would keep schoolwork down to a minimum, freeing up time for my real interests.For a time, as a mother, I looked for the perfect formula that would produce the best results in my children while taking minimal effort from me. I imagined that my house would run like clockwork, everything w … [Read more...]

Hajj Chronicles III: Kindness of a Stranger

It started out when she smiled at me, so thankfully.  It made me feel bad.  Why was I so begrudging of this empty spot next to me?  Why was I being so greedy with something that didn't belong to me.  Why couldn't I just smile, graciously, when she asked me if there was any space next to me for her and her friend to pray in.  Instead, I shook my head vigorously and mouthed, "No," and made the sign for 'one person' with my hand.  Only one of you can come.  And that, without a smile.I was standi … [Read more...]

Generosity

My husband was hospitalized last month with pneumonia. He had gone to work as usual but hadn’t slept well the night before and was feeling really unwell. In spite of my insistence that I call our son-in-law to take him to the hospital (women can’t drive here), he told me that he would go to the university clinic and see a doctor there. When his colleagues saw his condition, they bundled him into a car and took him straight to the university hospital.There had been a disastrous and unp … [Read more...]

It’s the Little Things

How I dread grocery shopping alone with my girls.I will put it off. I will avoid it. I will find excuses not to do it. But the day comes when I look in the fridge and I realize with a sinking heart that I have to.Today was one of those days. I had to go shopping with my 18-month-old daughters. And I had to go to two different places, which made my heart feel even heavier.So I made istikharah, coaxed them into the car, and off we went, with my mind imagining every scenario possible … [Read more...]

My Aunties and Beyond

I’m dedicating this one to my aunties. Auntie, khala, tante, whatever you call them, they are your mother’s friends and they probably played a role in raising you. Maybe they rocked you as a baby, taught you the Arabic alphabet at Sunday school, took you strawberry picking, cooked for your youth group events, or threw you a surprise bridal shower. They watched you grow, hosted you numerous times, gave you their time, advice and love, and then you got married and left.Have you kept in tou … [Read more...]

Small Town America

Growing up in the big city made the transition to small town America very difficult at times. At first, the lack of department stores, limited school options for the children, and a microscopic Muslim community was depressing. However, after some time, the small town charm grew on me. Fewer crowds, green hills, cows grazing, deer prancing through our yard, a parking spot at jumma, a small family-oriented iftaar seemed like a nice place to raise a family. It is a breath of fresh air in so many … [Read more...]