Ramadan is in the air!

My kids are still babies, the oldest is 6 (going on 16), but my nieces and nephews are newly minted teenagers. I have to say that, mashAllah, the good upbringing that their parents used to raise them is starting to blossom through their manners, priorities, and actions. In a group family message, they shared their resolutions for this Ramadan:Pray 8 rakat duha, daily Complete the Quran Watch the tongue and stay positive Do not touch anyone with anything that may hurt, annoy, or … [Read more...]

Rotten Oranges

Pfffft! My eighteen-month-old son, Ibrahim, spit an orange slice out of his mouth. A few seconds later, my husband, brother in law, and I spit ours out too, realizing that the orange tasted rotten. “How did Ibrahim realize that the orange was bad before us?” I wondered out loud. “I guess babies can sense when something isn’t right,” my husband answered.This incident stuck with me all evening. It reminded me that we are born with a natural instinct, or fitrah, to do right. Our fitrah innately … [Read more...]

Does Mama Know Best?

His eyes bulged, his jaw dropped, and he clapped his hands excitedly as he jumped up and down. And this was all before I took it out of the box. I had just bought my seventeen-month-old son, Ibrahim, a talking, singing Elmo. When I opened the box, Ibrahim grabbed Elmo and hugged him. They’ve been practically inseparable since. Elmo eats with him, sleeps with him, rides his toy car with him, and even takes medicine with him. Ibrahim was in love.When I saw Elmo at the store, I knew Ibrahim w … [Read more...]

No Words.

            I tried to write about Trayvon Martin. I tried to write about Tamir Rice. I tried to write about Ismail, Ahed, Zakaria, and Mohammed, the four boys killed by an Israeli airstrike at the beach in Gaza last summer. I tried to write about the 200+ kidnapped girls in Nigeria, the children massacred at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. I tried to write aboutGeorge Carter,the boy in my city shot and killed on his way to school. I tried, but the words wouldn’t come, or rather, they came, but t … [Read more...]

Have Mercy on Your Husband

Before I began this blog entry, I asked my husband for ideas. “Write about having mercy on your husband,” he suggested. Thinking he was only joking, I laughed and shrugged it off. “Really,” he insisted. Realizing that he was actually serious, I thought there might be something there.Sitting down to write, I wondered why he felt compelled to push this topic. I began reflecting on the past two and a half years of our marriage, particularly the last sixteen months we’ve spent as parents. As many … [Read more...]

Peace in Prayer

Have you been following the heartbreaking story of Mohammed Soltan? He’s a twenty-seven year old American citizen unjustly detained in an Egyptian prison. What was his crime? He stood up against the tyrannical military dictatorship that overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Mohammed has been on a hunger strike for over 300 days and both his physical and mental conditions are rapidly deteriorating. If you are a parent, it’s particularly difficult to read about his recent pleas … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Reliance

Whimper, whimper. I look up from the onions sautéing on the stove to see Ibrahim, my fourteen-month-old baby, holding a sandwich bag in one hand and a large T-fal frying pan in the other. With intense concentration, he attempts to force the pan into the small bag—an impossible task. Once, twice, three times. He keeps trying. Finally, he turns to me with pleading brown eyes that ask me to help him.Stifling back laughter, a thought strikes me: Ibrahim thinks I can do anything. Whenever he fi … [Read more...]

Losing My Mind

I recently experienced cranial surgery. During this difficult time, I learned a lot about letting go and asking for help.While I always put my trust in God, this time it did not stop the anxious, pre-surgery thoughts from racing through my mind. Thoughts of “possible human error” got the best of me at night. Fears of not returning to my family often squeezed my chest  just after I tucked the kids into bed. Usually with a good prayer and a reflective self talk, I could  steady my nerve … [Read more...]

The Missing Pieces

It is not an overstatement or a generalization to say that all cultures put mothers on pedestals. Motherhood is, by all standards, sacred. In Islam, we use the hadith “paradise lies at the feet of mothers” not only to remind people to obey and serve their mothers, but also to motivate women to become mothers and to encourage us to remain patient and stick it out. Motherhood is supposedly natural and instinctive, yet many challenges that come with the job, such as doubt, guilt, exhaustion and anx … [Read more...]

Growing Pains

               My son turned five this year. For at least six months leading up to his birthday he was counting down. Many of his sentences started with, “When I’m five…” Five was going to be magical. He was going to be able to run “super” fast, he was going to stay dry through the night, and he was going to eat zucchini. (Still waiting on that last one). What is it about turning five? He had never shown much interest in any of his previous birthdays. My only guess is that it was the hot topic of … [Read more...]