The Prayer that Shook a Dictatorship

Twelve years ago, I had the pleasure of experiencing the quintessential Egyptian Ramadan, a night in prayer behind Sheikh Mohamed Jebril in Egypt’s oldest mosque, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-‘As, on the holiest night of the year.  It was a night of peace, prayer and beauty followed by unplanned meetings with friends we hadn’t seen in so long, coming to experience the same Egyptian Ramadan night.Two nights ago, on the night of the 27th of Ramadan 2015, in the wee hours of the morning, my husband … [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...]

Sweet and Sour

I roll out the prayer mat and place my feet, shoulder width apart, onto the rug. I pause and take a few deep breaths to focus on the act I am about to begin. I whisper Allah’s name over and over again until I feel the tension within break apart, feel my chest expand and my muscles loosen. I make my intention and raise my hands to my ears. Allahu Akbar. I move slowly through the first rakah, praying with the mindfulness that Allah is watching me. I move into sajdah, forehead and nose touching t … [Read more...]

My Ramadan Guilt

I’ve never been to the masjid during Ramadan. It might sound unbelievable, but it’s true. Mother’s with small children might know what I am going through-  with the fasts being so long these past few years I find it almost impossible to get out of the house to go pray taraweeh. My daughter is six-years-old and while it may be arguable that she’s ready to be attending the masjid, I just don’t see how it’s possible. And that is what gives me “Ramadan Guilt” almost every year. I’ve read several ar … [Read more...]

My Purple Carpet

            I was told when I first got married, that my relationship with Allah would be different. That I would find a new "normal" and get accustomed to it. And that after having kids, a woman doesn’t have the time she used to have, to sit down for hours reading the Quran, or get up and pray every night while everyone else sleeps. But no one ever told me I wouldn't find my purple c … [Read more...]

Kids Belong in the Masjid

The first time I visited Masjid Al Haram, or the Grand Mosque as it is also known, in Mecca, was two years back on a Hajj trip. I was 30 years old. There was an immediate connection and sense of belonging I felt. I left there wanting my kids to experience the same feelings and connection and made du’a to be able to bring them there soon. I wanted my children to be able to go at their young and impressionable age so that they would develop a deep love, longing, and attachment to the holy cities o … [Read more...]