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...]

The Magpie

My husband's work badge was missing. It was a weekend, so we weren't too worried. It would turn up somewhere.I was cleaning and searching at the same time. While making my daughter's bed, I noticed an unopened can of condensed milk wedged next to the wall. I grinned, my daughter loves to lick the spoon when I make Brazilian lemonade, so she must have been saving some for rough times. There was more. I reached down and found a glittery pipe cleaner, my metal measuring spoons, and .... the … [Read more...]

Hajj Chronicles II: The Little Things

It's the little things that people do, that have others praying for them, without them even realizing, and may be the reason they enter Paradise.While we were sitting in the Haram in Makkah, on the third floor, I noticed people fidgeting in front of me, and then slowly I noticed the crowds flicking a large cockroach or cricket-type bug around.  When you're sitting in a crowd of a million, there's no place for this insect to go but onto another person.  And so it got dangerously near me.  And … [Read more...]

The Silver Birch Tree

I love trees. I love to gaze at them, sit under them, draw them, study them, paint them, climb them and sometimes feel a peaceful solidarity with them. Growing up, I had a silver birch tree in our yard. In so many ways that tree was my first best friend. I had a blue and white swing set that was placed under the tree. I swang and swang and stared up at those lofty tree branches for most of my outdoor time. It was my club house, my fort, my place of peace and protection.I learned my first … [Read more...]

Friday Patty-Cake

A Father's ReflectionI opened my palms in prayer at the end of the Friday khutbah.  Along with a couple thousand other Jum’a-goers, I dutifully replied ameen after the Imam’s heartfelt and well spoken supplications.  Like everyone else, I certainly aim for God’s generous reply to my prayers.  God All-Knowing and full of Love for His creations knows best how to answer our prayers.This Friday however, the reply to my ameen was a generous slap on both my palms by none other than the gentle f … [Read more...]

Muslim Relief Efforts in Haiti

A convoy from Islamic Relief left for Haiti two days ago.  This is the first post from one member of this convoy, on their second day in the region.Day Two – January 17, 2010Santa Domingo, Dominion RepublicWe have hooked up with a British aid group called Muslim Hands and a Muslim group from Trinidad & Tobago. An operations base has been set up at a huge Islamic Center in Santa Domingo. Our assignment was to find any Muslim survivors in Port-au-Prince. Through our masjid contacts in Sa … [Read more...]

More Dialogue, Less Debate

In many places in the Muslim community, and indeed within many Muslim families, we are accepted and well-regarded when we keep in time to the beat. March to a different tune or sing solo and many individuals literally find themselves clobbered or trampled.It is usually much more subtle than I just described, but when some of us meet an idea that rubs us the wrong way, we immediately judge and go into a restrained yet aggressive debate mode. We think there is right, there is wrong, and it is … [Read more...]

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...]