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Category Archives: Reflections

Finally…

IMG_2393 IMG_2391 hot cocoa

It is not unheard of in Madison to get snow right after thanksgiving, and when I say snow I mean the kind that sticks and stays on the ground for at least a day. The kind  you can form into snow balls and throw at each other or at the side of your house to stick. Snow that’ll put a smile on your face because it’s the first snow of the season and you are still nostalgic from last year and haven’t grown tired from yet. That kind of snow made an appearance this very early morning, the morning of december 9th… late by Wisconsin’s standards, but hey we’ll take it, and we’ll play with it and make our muddiest, dirtiest snowmen yet, and it’ll make us rush to the kitchen to prepare a very special first sticky snow of the season breakfast with hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup. It will stop us from thinking about death until later tonight (right now) and make us remember witnessing three deaths that caused three clocks to stop working at the time of death. Google had no answers for the phenomenon but has lots of similar stories to share. 

I just watched Life of Pi, maybe that’s why I thought about death and things that baffle the mind.

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On a shameless self promoting note, I started a new tumblr photo blog, you can follow me there as well.

Wishing you a wonderful start of your week!

Peace.

Babble

Acorns and panda puff balls are what I’ve been stepping on these days in our apartment– says a lot about the kind of people we are. It says that we are parents of nature collectors, and panda puff devourers who skip the milk and go straight for the crunch. It also says that we haven’t vacuumed in a while.

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I have five draft posts that I have written and never published, after re-reading them I thought “umm, better not”. They were all different forms of whining about a week long sickness that is currently breathing it’s final breaths. The result: I sound like an old man whose been smoking most of his life. My youngest declared me unfit for reading books with her. I concur.

Tomorrow I am supposed to get my final fit test to see how much I’ve progressed in the past two months of gym going. I am still super weak from the sickness and I lost I a lot of muscle during my rest (lost five pounds) so I’m not sure what I’ll be testing tomorrow other than fatigue. I still plan to go because I promised my instructor I’d go.

Can you tell I’m lame and blank these days. I am just writing this post to get things out of the way and break the spell. Hopefully this should do it. Also my man found my camera charger, so here’s something to look forward to.

On a less lame note, I finished a book during my sickness, because when you have conjunctivitis in both eyes, and have consumed the capacity of your eye tolerance to stare at a screen for long periods of time, you figure: maybe you should start reading that book you’ve been meaning to read a while back, and so I did. It was a very good book. I had consulted a while back with twitter of which book to start me off with Neil Gaiman. Twitter gave its word: American Gods. And so it was (after I got sick and was forced to sit–or rather lay– and read) The story was set in different parts of America, but mainly in America’s Midwest. My kind of place (wink) so now I want to go visit The House On The Rock because it sounds ridiculous, entertaining, and creepy all at once, or at least that’s what the book suggests. Also the story is set in winter, and it spoke of harsh temperatures, several feet of snow and numbing cold winds. So now I have gone completely mad and actually missed real, bone-penetrating cold, winters. We have sunshine and forty degree weather these days, and i’m thinking lame (lameness is apparently my theme tonight). So instead of being thankful I am wishing for snow. Also my man bought me a box of these. Prepared is how I’m feeling right now.

Before I had read anything by Neil Gaiman I started following him on twitter because I was already following a lot of his followers and so Twitter suggested him on my list of people to follow. So like the good girl that I am I took twitter’s advice and followed the man. So when I started reading his book I somehow subliminally heard his voice narrating his story to me, and I even saw his avatar picture speaking to me without moving it’s mouth. Just like it has tweeted to me before without moving it’s mouth, so we became friends. Just like that. It’s strange how people will connect with you and identify with you through a voiceless medium. It’s also a little creepy because we really don’t know each other at all (I am including you dear reader in this epiphany, yes, I don’t know you, except if I do) but he sat in that little corner in my head and spoke to me in a friendly way, and so I decided that he’s alright. You know? Yet for all I know he could be a wife beater in real life. I could be connecting on a personal level (’cause you know reading is very personal, and I was very sick and vulnerable) with a wife beater. Just a thought that popped in my head that I thought to share with you.

… and reader, I am not a wife beater. Feel free to connect with me on a personal level.

Peace.

Words

I have words that pop in my head. Words that linger after everything else fades. A two hour conversation with my cousin leaves me with: She remembers. An old man walking purposefully with determination that makes his body jolt with each stride: Youthful. A yellow field of soybeans as we drive by: Beautiful, Drought, Climate change.

I have words that linger when I sit at the end of each day. I won’t remember everything but these words they stay… at least for now.

Peace.

Gender and Sexuality in Islam

Not my words today but the words of a scholar who will help an Egyptian mother of two young Muslim girls sleep better tonight, and many nights to come inshaAllah. May God relieve his heart like he relieved mine.

Listen:

Peace

Punch Drunk Ramadan

Sometimes I daze off a little and see my life flash by until I reach this very moment: sitting on the couch trying to articulate something meaningful to share with faceless readers. It is especially disorienting to travel in space and time in a flash and end up fifteen years older in someone else’s living room. So what was I going to write about again?

Reality.

Reality becomes really distorted without food and drink. Also reading Alif the Unseen didn’t help my case much. (highly recommended by the way) I have been really low on energy and barely able to keep my eyes open these past few days.

Do you know why Muslims fast? Itto lists a set of beliefs we all share, and the truth is, it all boils down to surrendering to God–which is what Islam as an Arabic word originates from: surrendering. Trusting that although most of our non-Muslim friends freak out when they learn we have to go without water or liquids for seventeen hours, and that “surely that can’t be good for our health, and it is probably ridiculous” We believe that this is insanely good for us, we believe it from the bottom of our hearts, and we will make our children who come of fasting age do it too… because we love them.

There are blessings in this month alone that exceed any other time during the rest of the year. This is a month for God, for the Qur’an and for our souls for a change. Our bodies struggle for a month out of the year, it isn’t long at all if you think about it. The first ten are of mercy may Allah shower us with his Mercy. The second ten (right now!) are of forgiveness, May all forgive our wrong doings and the last ten are freedom from hellfire, ya Allah free us from hellfire.

I haven’t set foot in a mosque for a long time now. The mosque I truly miss is in Egypt, currently adorned in lights to celebrate the holy month and for the night worshipers. This post is dedicated to Sultan Hassan Mosque, I can almost smell the late cool dusty breeze that travels across it’s courtyard during prayer times.

Salam

Fortitudine Vincimus

“The gates of heaven are open, make supplication fast!”

Whenever it rains this is what comes in my mind after years of hearing my mother encourage me to make du’a when it rains, and when it rains in Cairo it doesn’t last long; hence the ‘fast’ prompt. Our window unit is currently getting soaked in a good heavy shower. The unit enhances the rain acoustics through our living room–a good sound– there’s also flashes of light and drums of thunder echoing in the distance. Here’s another thing you’ll often catch me doing in a thunder storm, if there’s a loud boom I will subconsciously start counting with loud whispers on my fingers “One. One thousand. Two. One thousand. Three…” another trick my man taught me when I first arrived to the mid west. “Every second counted in delay of the sound after the flash, means that the storm is a mile or two or three… away depending on the delay in seconds counted  “one… oh my gosh it’s right above us!” I used to be terrified of thunder storms… also, basements.

I am still terrified of basements.

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It’s a strange feeling to give up food and drink willingly when your fridge is stuffed full. Mind over matter. And the truth is if you eat, nobody will know… really, it’s this private act of worship between you and your lord. You made a deal, to abstain from your most basic needs from dawn till dusk. As the hours proceed, your body starts to slowly give in: Tiredness, thirst, hunger, fatigue, headaches. Your body gets weak and you realize you really are nothing, what’s the big fuss all about then? Your mind starts to remember all of your favorite dishes, the first thing that nags are sweets–the fastest source of energy. But water, oh my water! in these soaring summer temperatures, and so you splash your face with cold tap water and try to swallow the rock that has now hardened and refuses to move inside your neck. Yes water.

Umar Ibn Al Khattab is one of the five companions of Prophet Mohammad who were promised Jannah (May God give us paradise). He was known for his strength of will power. When asked about his three favorite things in dunya (earthly pleasures) one of them was fasting during summer hours (i forget the other two). Really!! my mind never understood this answer, out of all the pleasures in this world, one of his three favorites was fasting in hot summer hours?? The man lived in the Arabian dessert aka Saudi Arabia of today. It is indeed difficult to understand reason behind someone who has totally conquered his lower self and soared along side his spirit.

Maybe this is the reason behind his love for enjoying a hard form of worship, because he could taste the sweetness of the aftermath. Just like a good sweaty, aching, heart pumping workout and the high one gets after; knowing that, yes, this is good. Pain can feel good when you can visualize the results. Or even better live them as if they were already here.

So here it is. It’s real: The thirst, the fatigue, the dazed vision, it’s all here. Can you feel it? Oh this is going to be a good one. Trust me!

Shakleton had it right people.

Peace.