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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… 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… Read more

Friday Patty-Cake

A Father’s Reflection I 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… 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, 2010 Santa Domingo, Dominion Republic We 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… Read more

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