Old Friend

Procrastinating, I checked my SPAM folder, telling myself maybe something got misfiled. One thing led to another, and soon enough I was browsing an Islamic education website – the children’s section of course. And then there it was – the familiar name that appeared as the author of a new charming children’s book. I looked at the name again and realized that it was my old friend who had moved away about a year after both of our first children were born -over seven years ago now.Ours was an ins … [Read more...]

There’s No Other Name for Mama

I see her in the spaces she no longer occupies. Every room still holds outlines of her presence, and as I walk in, I feel like I just missed her. When I am still enough, I feel her being superimposed inside me; and she is breathing through my pores. Sometimes I want to rage against the thin veil that separates us. I know she is just on the other side, not so far away that her scent no longer lingers.Yet she is gone. And the irrevocable nature of her journey beckons me to examine mine. I … [Read more...]

Reason Number (insert high number here) I’m Grateful To Be Muslim

A generation ago there were two brothers in my family (my grandmother’s brothers). One was a laborer. The other was a doctor. They were both married. They were both alcoholics. The laborer lost his life to a failed liver (a direct result of his alcoholism). The doctor took his own life leaving behind his wife and children (although it is impossible to know the exact reason he committed this act, the increased depression that resulted from his addiction to alcohol was undoubtedly a f … [Read more...]

One kid, Two Kids, Three Kids

I’m not sure when it starts, but at one point in a girl’s life she wishes, “I want to have ___ kids!”  She may even go further by saying how many boys and how many girls, and what she wants to name them.Then she gets married. And oh the pressures of having a baby or getting pregnant and when! Does she still have the same wish she did long ago?I remember saying I wanted four children. And if Allah would give me two boys and two girls, I would be so happy because that would be so perfect! … [Read more...]

The Passing of a Star

Aminah Assilmi passed away on March 5, 2010. She was the director of the International Union of Muslim Women, an internationally respected author, an advocate for women's rights, and a renowned speaker on Islam who educated Muslim and non-Muslim audiences alike. To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return.For those of us who grew up in the nineties, her presence will be remembered and dearly missed. May Allah (swt) forgive her, shower His mercy on her, and grant her the highest level of … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]