Hajj Chronicles- Faces in the Crowd

I had the pleasure during my first Hajj experience to have a scholar accompany our Hajj group and give us tidbits that were so on the spot, so perfect for Hajj. During our travel from Medina to Makkah, our sheikh told us something that stuck in my mind,'Don't busy yourselves during tawaf staring at everything. Don't stare at the Ka'ba, don't stare at the skies around. But do stare at the people. Their faces will tell you stories....".And while he said this, a couple of the more experienced … [Read more...]

Tea, Please

The right cup of tea at the right moment can turn your whole day around. It’s amazing how one sip of the warm brew can settle your nerves and remind you to breathe again. There are so many life events, milestones and deep conversations that are coupled with a cup of tea in hand. The fondest for me, are the moments with my parents.I once attended a tea party in my honor. I had just gotten married and moved to a new city. I didn’t know anyone well. The women were playing a game and asked me, “W … [Read more...]

As the Twins Get Older

The girls were sitting,On the trunk of the car,Looking at the world,Near and far,When one noticed the emblem,And asked what it was,I read, “Nissan”,And told them what it does.When they heard the word,They did something bizarre.They both stuck their tongues,Out really far.Puzzled, I asked them,What they were doing.They pointed once more,So I told them again.Both tongues came out,As if pulled by a cord,And I almost decided,This should just be ign … [Read more...]

Everyday Dua

I had a hundred things to do in the next thirty minutes, and not a moment to spare to look for my daughter’s tiny missing earring. Besides, she had been romping in the snow and slept at her cousin’s house the night before. The earring could have fallen off two days ago.I had no time to look in her bed or on the floor. It was lost for sure. But I said the dua anyway. “O Allah, You are the One who brings people to a Day of which there is no doubt, so bring back to me what I have lost.” And then … [Read more...]

By the Book

When I was expecting my first child seven years ago after years of trying to conceive, I was overwhelmed with emotion. From early on in my pregnancy, I was determined to be a well-informed mom, up-to-date on the newest and best child rearing practices out there. That Infancy & Childhood Development course I took as an undergrad student some years ago wasn’t going to cut it. I searched books and websites for good, solid information that would not only get me through pregnancy, labor, and d … [Read more...]

Between These Four Walls

This may be categorized under the heading ‘too much information’ but I was in the bathroom the other day and on my way out, instead of opening the door, I just leaned on it. For about 10 minutes I just stood their frozen, paralyzed almost at the magnitude of the responsibilities that lie just outside the bathroom door. It was as if it had suddenly become a portal—instead of a potty—into a world of calm and I was unexpectedly in a place of serene solitude and I just wanted to stay there a little … [Read more...]

Tossing the Subscription

It felt like a turning point to me, but maybe I’m overanalyzing it. Going through the mail the other day, I came across the renewal card for my subscription to a parenting magazine I have been getting for what seems like a zillion years. And for the first time in five or six of those years, I threw it into the recycling pile without a moment’s thought. I knew without even thinking that I was done with being told month after month how to be the perfect parent.God knows I need all the par … [Read more...]

One True Love?

We do not do Disney Princesses. Growing up a tomboy and then into a student of social justice, I thought I had enough reasons to keep princess culture at bay. But I recently realized another one - the idea of a One True Love (OTL).There are the standard arguments centered around race/ethnicity and gender. Most Disney princesses are either White or Anglicized versions of other ethnicities which can be very harmful for the self-image of non-White young girls (remember the Clark doll … [Read more...]

Tale of a Kufi

I ran up the stairs to find my eight year olds’ knitted hat to keep his head warm during the chilly night ahead at soccer practice. Father and son stood at the bottom pleading with me to hurry or else they would be late.“What about your blue kufi, Zayd? It will just as easily keep your head warm.” My son looked down at his cleats, avoiding eye contact.The frantic mood at the bottom of the stairs turned to silence.Zayd replied in a low voice, “I don’t want to.”“Why?” I asked. … [Read more...]

Eid Mubarak from Jeddah

My husband and I have been living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for more than thirty years, alhamdulillah. We live in Safa District, in the northwest of this huge, sprawling city.We used to go, for both Eids, to the large outdoor prayer area beside the Airplane Roundabout. It was too far to walk, so we always drove. I mean that we rode and my husband drove since women are not allowed to drive here. Now the Airplane Roundabout has been demolished to make way for an overpass. The place is called … [Read more...]