Life Goes On

life-goes-on

They prayed for my son at Friday prayers last week. Another milestone I never imagined would’ve happened as part of our parent-child journey. But life goes on. It seems altogether wrong and disloyal and nonsensical that life should be going on. We sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office last week, making nervous small talk with my parents while we waited for the doctor to come out and give us Lil D’s test results. Husband and I had run through the scenarios in our head, from … [Read more...]

You are Enduring Love

Dilshad and Daanish falls shot

My darling boy, The sun is shining and the air is warm with the scents and sounds of a spring most awaited. You are swinging in the hammock in the backyard, spinning your beads on a twig with your hoodie pulled over your head and sunglasses perched on your face. God, you are handsome. It seems fitting that on today, World Autism Day 2014, we have come to a point in our autism journey where the path has played a cruel, cruel trick on us. Where there seems to be no alternate route, where the … [Read more...]

It’s Ok to Say, Why?

why

Maybe I’m wrong. I could very well be entirely wrong on this, but I am reminded of a hadith saying that Allah (God) loves us 70 times more than our own mother. And so I feel I’m allowed to do this. We are all allowed to lift up our arms in anger and frustration to Him, to vent as we would vent to our mother, husband or best friend, and He will Love us just the same. That at times expressing my anger and frustration in no way takes away from the trust I have that there is something to all … [Read more...]

An Autism Unbound from the Rituals of Ramadan

Autism puzzle

In no way is he part of any of our Ramadan rituals. He does not get up for suhoor, the pre-dawn, pre-fast meal, because he is not obligated to fast nor can he tolerate fasting. And, to disrupt his sleep so that he could just join us at that early part of the morning would be asking for major trouble. He does not read the Quran (But we read it to him. He is nonverbal and can’t read English, let alone Arabic, but he can repeat an approximation of the shahada). He does not stand with his … [Read more...]

Autism, Childhood and the Perpetual Questions – A Sibling Speaks Up

holding_hands

How do the siblings of individuals with autism cope with the spectrum disorder's grip on their lives? When so much of a family's life revolves around the child with ASD, how do siblings feel about it all -- the questions from friends, having to leave parties early and a thousand other things? How do you handle going to the mosque when half of your family never comes because your brother cannot handle it and the community isn't the most welcoming? I wonder what my own two younger children feel in … [Read more...]

Loved and Loved Back

Daanish and Amal_soccer

The whole family came out for Amal’s soccer game on Saturday morning – Lil D, Hamza, my husband and myself. I can’t remember the last time we all went to one of her games or one of Hamza’s games. All of us. The kids have been playing with the Ansars soccer league for four years now, and many of these kids have been with Amal on teams since they were five and six years old. Playing with the Ansars is one thing I have tried my best not to compromise for Amal, and now Hamza, even when … [Read more...]

Where Our Concern Should Be Right Now – With the Victims, Not the Faith of the Perpetrators of Violence

If you’re Muslim, you can’t help but be thinking, oh God – let it not be a Muslim. Please, don’t let whoever is behind the explosions at the Boston Marathon be Muslim. It crosses most of our minds. I’ll start with myself – from the time I was in college at the University of Maryland in the 1990s and the Oklahoma City bombing happened, to now, it’s the first thing I think when I hear about a bombing – please, don’t let it be a Muslim. But here’s the thing. That shouldn’t … [Read more...]

The Magician Who Can’t Make Autism Numbers Disappear

Autism puzzle

He’s a regular parlor-room magician. But instead of pulling a never-ending trail of colorful handkerchiefs or a bouquet of flowers from his sleeves, we are retrieving remote controls, spoons, wads of tissues, beads, toy cars, small stuffed animals and hairbrushes. Yesterday, when I announced bed time to him, he stood up sleepily and started to stagger upstairs. In true Lil D style of late, he was wearing two hoodies over an undershirt. (He just finds them around the house and piles them … [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...]

Reflecting on the Holy Days, the Year of Autism, and One Resolution

Daanish smiling

Has it been a year already? Yes, one year has passed since witnessing the extraordinary miracle that united thousands in Central Virginia (where I live) to one singular purpose: Find the boy. Last year around this time, a young, nonverbal autistic boy – much like my own Lil D – disappeared on a family walk at a national battlefield park a half an hour away from where I live. As one day stretched into two, the police opened up their search to community volunteers, and thousands poured … [Read more...]