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Archive for August, 2010

I had an odd lump in my throat when I dropped of LF2 and LF3 off at school; she sat wistfully on the sofa. ” Do you want to come with me to drop them off'” ” No, Mama.” It felt so weird like was I punishing her. ” I don’t want people to ask me why I am not coming to school.”

Her name was on the school list, I guess her withdrawal letter hadn’t been processed yet. No new backpack or lunchbox for her. LF2 got this whole set and I finally gave in got LF3 the Star Wars one he wanted. It was his first day of kindergarten (Am on an anti-brands promotion binge, would not get him Toy story 3 paraphernalia or Iron man 2 sneakers- meanest mommy in the world.) No back to school night, no first day of school pictures with shiny new shoes and a new outfit.

“Come on we will be late,” LF2 called. This will be interesting, may be she can learn some responsibility now. She is the second child but will be the eldest in the family at school.  Her older sister won’t be there to take care of her, to make sure that they weren’t running late.

I finally enrolled her in the K12 online school program. It didn’t help that her ‘school’ will start two weeks after her siblings- It’s done, I will  be her teacher … but they call me her “learning coach” and the lady who will guide us, the teacher??? I just received an email showing me then we can log in.

She is fasting almost everyday and she is only 9. I like having her around- I didn’t realize how much I missed her. And I am much calmer with her too. Maybe that’s just because I am fasting. Ya Allah, make this easy on me and even easier on her. Ameen.

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I watch in horror, the beautiful Swat Valley, a treasure of unparalleled natural beauty broken by the very same nature. Bahrain, Kalam, Madyan, Mingora, vacation spots from a childhood past, beaten, drowned by the 20-foot waves in the River Swat. The terrible force of Allah(swt)’s water destroying everything in sight, crumbling homes and bridges, made of cement and bricks. The monsoon season is in swing and, as it continues to rain, every river from the north down to the southern part of Pakistan has swollen and inundated its surroundings. So far 20 million people are affected by disease and displacement, entire villages (650,000 homes) destroyed.  The United Nations is calling this a worse disaster than the tsunami, the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake… all put together! These are not just statistics; these are people, our brothers and sisters.

Rain can be a mercy or a test from Allah(swt)  – they are surrounded by water yet they do not have a drop to drink. Inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon. Truly to Allah do we belong and to Him we shall return!

We hear so much bad news, courtesy of 24-hour news channels, that our hearts have become hard. We say a quick dua or shed a few tears and sometimes send in some money. As I sit here in my brother-in-law’s luxury condo overlooking the serene Potomac River in Washington D.C., do I even deserve to comment on these people’s suffering?  To be there and actually deliver bread and tents or shelter a family, to risk my life to rescue a human in the land of my birth, would I be worthy then? I want to be there, yet I feel so inadequate.

Besides clutching our own brood of kids, showing them pictures of the tragedy helpless children are suffering a few days before the merciful month of Ramadan, so they can learn to look beyond their own wants, what else can we do? As we get ready to fast, we can remember these people have not eaten for days. As we take our babies to the doctors, lets remember the water-borne diseases their babies may suffer. As we stock up our freezers from the Halal store and our overstuffed pantries from Costco, lets remember the true spirit of Ramadan and give as much as we can.  Maybe this is Allah’s way of reminding us that we are NOT giving enough in Sadaqah.

Give to fill his empty pots

In a Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Related by Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Ya Rabbi, the advent of your blessed month is here, please remove the sufferings of our Pakistani brothers and sisters. O Allah, nothing is beyond your power. O Allah, send upon them helpful, wholesome and healthy rain, beneficial not harmful rain. Ameen!

We are more in need of the reward of our sadaqat that the flood victims are in need of our donations.

Having lived in New Orleans and seeing that beautiful city wrecked by Katrina and still trying to rebuild itself despite being in the wealthiest of nations, I wonder how Pakistan will survive this flood?  This clip was so heart-wrenching but reinforced the belief of a Muslim– the good brother says standing waist deep in water “by the grace of God we will reconstruct everything, we have courage to face this situation, we are Pakistani… we live here, we will face every problem inshaAllah”.  Alhamdulillah fi kulli haal. Lets help them rebuild.

Join Muslim Matters Fundraiser for trusted organizations to donate to.

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  1. Wake up for Suhoor. Have a healthy breakfast.
  2. Keep moving- it creates oxygen in your blood and keeps you energetic. Do not sleep the whole day. If you exercise regularly- go for a thirty minute walk (make dhikr)
  3. At iftaar time eat no more than you can fit on a saucer
  4. Keep yourself hydrated- drink 2-3 liter of water
  5. After taraweeh go to sleep.

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On route from DC to LAX alone with all four children. So far so good. Except…you know how we are supposed to be good to our fellow travellers. Well!! the Virgin America counter was right next to Saudi Airlines- plenty of Muslims around to salaam to. We did not even get ONE!! When my seven-year old said salaam to the Chanel clad sister with her Gucci luggage encased in plastic cover- all she got was a cold stare. LF#2 looked at me bewildered.  “Its ok jaani you still got the reward”, I said stroking her back. Undettered, I tried with another sister. Total ignore- my brother-in-law who was dropping us off smirked- he makes fun of my “muslim” antenna- ‘it beeps whenever a Muslim esp. a desi passes by and she HAS to make contact”. Oh well- maybe I can smile at the ladies at the counter- sorry I forget we aren’t in LA anymore- don’t people smile on the East Coast?

Maneuvering my brood, 3-year-old in his stroller, 4 backpacks on my girls, my camera/laptop case and purse, the 4-year-old on a monkey leash up and down Dulles Airport, I smiled.

I smiled at security even after they threw away my baby’s organic chocolate milk box- LF# 1 said “but but they let us bring it when we came from California!!” Californians are nicer we all agreed. I smiled when they asked me to take off my abaya- “it’s not a jacket, sir.” I smiled when they wouldn’t give us priority boarding even with so many little kids.

We get on board. An empty seat next to us. OH look someone left their head phones – trying to be the good Muslimah, I pick them and turn around to call the steward in black uniform, “Hi, someone left their earphones” I say to the young man in black leaning over my seat.” ERR those are mine” That was his SEAT yikes- he probably thought I was stealing them. Grrrrr, next time should I be so quick to ‘help’??

Mom packed Persian kebabs & rice for lunch for us, they smell across the whole plane!! I see fellow travellers twitching their noses. Some have a dreamy look in their eyes. Should I offer them some, I should shouldnt I? They have a right over me.“ No thank you!!”  It is hard being nice. I pack up the rest envisioning  lawyers suing us because I shared my lunch. Things were simpler in the past, you could share a meal with strangers and fulfill your deen’s requirement.  The more we become technologically advance the less we connect.

“I wanna drink, I wanna drink” ” I need to go to the bathroom”- oops the trolley was blocking the steward motions at us, “Go use the bathroom in the front.” After standing in line for seven minutes as two people use it, as my little one is hops around. “You can’t use this restroom- it’s for business class passengers ONLY!” My hijab makes me wimpy at times. Maybe if I didn’t wear hijab I would have thrown a hissy fit and told her off, “My kid can just pee on the floor and I’ll make you clean it”. Wimpy or a better human being- I don’t want her to hate all Muslims because I yelled at her.  Without it I could be from anywhere where people are brown, with it I am conspicuously Muslim.

I am just glad I am home. Alhamdulillah

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