Recovering His Voice

Daanish and Dilshad at the lake

I prayed two rakat shukrani – that’s a short, extra prayer Muslims do when they are thankful for something. And thankful I am. Henrico County police called last night. They recovered Lil D’s iPad. Let’s pause for a celebration before we get into the story! Channel that feeling of Rocky Balboa, jumping over the stairs outside his home, throwing air punches, and beginning to jog down his neighborhood streets. He’s gathering energy, he’s pumped, and as he jogs, people on the … [Read more...]

Fighting for His Voice

ipad woman

Whenever I lost something, my parents taught me to immediately utter the du’a (prayer), Innal ilahi wa innal ilayhi raji’oon. Say it, and surely God will bring whatever you lost back to you, my parents, in-laws, and so many elders told me. This du’a is the proper thing to utter when someone passes, but also it’s a du’a for loss of any kind. The phrase comes from the Quran, Surah al Baqara, verse 156. The full verse is: “Who, when a misfortune overtakes him say: ‘Surely we belong to … [Read more...]

Losing His Voice

Daanish and iPad

Ever lost your voice to a bout of laryngitis? It’s pretty frustrating not to be able to say what you want. One day you can talk, and the next day your voice is all hoarse and croaky and then the day after that you go silent. Lil D lost his voice this weekend, and not to laryngitis. His iPad, his assisted communication device – his voice – was lost/stolen on Saturday on an outing to Target where we live in Central Virginia. He lost his voice. A voice he (and we) have fought so, so, so … [Read more...]

Sometimes All You Can Do is Live in the Moment

Daanish and Baba

As the moments pass, as things happen, I can hear the words unfurl in my head. The sentences form and the emotions breathe life into the words in the time following any mundane or noteworthy thing happening in this life I live with Lil D, Amal, Hamza, husband, in-laws, Islam and autism. I watch Lil D link arms with his father or lean on the table next to him while he eats, anxiously seeking his undivided attention; or Lil D and I share a moment of intimate eye contact at the dinner table … [Read more...]

The National Defense Authorization Act Passes Again in 2013 – Are You Watching Your Back?

obama-signing-defense-act

I was cleaning out some kitchen cabinets and came across two business cards from an FBI agent, from when he came a-knocking twice last year on our front door. The first time none of us were home and his card was slid under our door. I’m a fairly unflappable person – pretty much autism-related difficulties are the only things that rattles me. But the fact that an FBI agent visited our home, well that made me pause. Twelve years ago when I took on the job that launched my career as a … [Read more...]

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

miss-you

Growing up, I can only recall one time when my parents left us in the care of a babysitter. Part of it was where we grew up (in a small Midwestern town away where there wasn’t much by way of entertainment). Another part was just how my parents were – more of homebodies who just weren’t inclined to leave their children. They didn’t seem to have a lot of complaints or difficulties, even when I ask them now, when it came to our upbringing. Were we easier kids to parent than our own … [Read more...]

My Jihad is Autism, Faith and Everything In Between. What’s Yours?

MyJihad4

What’s your jihad? Mine is autism awareness and living with autism. My jihad is my son, Lil D, and helping him (and our family) overcome challenges brought on by his autism, helping him be as healthy as possible and finding out what we can do to make him happy. My jihad is making a place for him in this world, getting this world to accept him, care for him, and help him to succeed the best that he can. My jihad is my children -- raising proud, well-adjusted, Muslim-American children … [Read more...]

Khateebs – Please Talk about Newtown Today

A short message from your friendly neighborhood  Muslimah Next Door. Khateebs (those who will be giving Friday khutabas, or sermons, today) -- please don't forget to mention that Muslims should make du'a for the children who perished last week in Newtown, Connecticut, and to make du'as for the community of Newtown. Whether you mention it in your khutbah, or afterwards when you make community announcements, please do it. I don't profess to know how relevant or not khutbas are across the … [Read more...]

Don’t Let Newtown’s Tragedy become an Autism Backlash

Newtown shrine

The early morning scramble to get the kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door to their three different schools is more hectic this week as we count down to winter break. Whereas I was much more organized during the start of the school year and more dutiful in getting things done before I woke the kids, now I’m barely getting up ahead of them and am rushing to get lunches made, meds administered, coats and shoes on and bags packed as they chow down their breakfast in anticipation of busses … [Read more...]

I Wish I Were an Only Child

Daanish and Amal

On Saturday night, when we were walking the lighted paths of our local botanical garden, taking in the beauty around us, my daughter announced something that millions of children have uttered before her: “Sometimes I wish I was an only child.” It kind of hit me hard. In retrospect, it was a mere blip on our family landscape – way worse things have been said, and I’m sure my kids have nursed much more hurt feelings then they let on to me. But she had never uttered those words out … [Read more...]