Six Tips for Waking Up for Fajr When You Have Young Children

Sleepless nights. As I look back at the blur that was the first year of my children’s lives, I most vividly remember exhaustion. I reached a new level of “tired” that penetrated into my bones. When I thought I could not get more tired, my exhaustion reached a new peak. Yet as a practicing Muslim, I was supposed to find the will to get up and pray fajr in between my children’s night wakings. But how? How could I forgo sleep when it’s barely there in the first place?!It becomes an arduous inner … [Read more...]

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...]

Turning Kids Towards Prayer

Salah, or prayer, was the first salient form of worship prescribed by Allah the Almighty to our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and his followers. It is a vital part of our faith. Once a Muslim reaches puberty, prayer becomes obligatory on him or her five times a day. At this age, the person is accountable for his or her actions and take on a whole new level of maturity and responsibility. For a child who is suddenly considered an “adult” in Islamic standards, this may seem to … [Read more...]

Come To Allah….Come To Allah

“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar…..”The beauty of the words of the adhan and the voice of my dear son as he beckons us to pray are familiar sounds in our home on any given day. Today, however, I am stopped in my tracks!In the process of donning my hijab, a shrill little voice also beckons…..“Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar……Come To Allah, Come To Allah!”My 2 1/2 year old daughter calls “come to Allah”. Her innocent but attentive mind has mistakenly combined the iqamah with the adhan, replac … [Read more...]

That Feeling

The feeling had been with me from the start of the day: that something exciting was going to happen, though for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was.So in the car we all piled, with both babies fed and changed, and headed for the medical center. We got to the ophthalmology department and my husband checked in. By then I was feeling really silly, wondering why on earth I had felt the need to escort my husband to an eye exam, pushing the twins in their double stroller and making a s … [Read more...]