Thursday, March 31, 2011

There was an old lady…

Back when I was in grade seven (not too long ago), our school was selling chocolates for a fundraiser. A friend and I decided to sell together and decided to take my younger sister along as well (cuteness factor). We were going to go to a couple of floors in our building until we sold out  (long shot) or got tired. Whichever came first.

We knocked on one door and elderly lady opened the door. She looked to be about 75-80 years old. White hair, wrinkled skin and short stature, she welcomed us in. She was wearing sunglasses. We told her we were selling these scrumptious chocolate covered almonds to raise money for something (it was quite a long time ago).  She kindly listened to us and said she doesn’t eat chocolate. Perhaps some kids or grandkids she would like to buy for? No. But she wouldn’t let us go empty handed. She went to grab a little coin jar and set it in front of me.

“You see, I can’t really see very well, that’s why I have these glasses on”.  Oh, that made sense.

“How much did you say the chocolates were?"

Two dollars for the box.

“Here each of you take a toonie and a loonie for the little darling.”

She pushed the jar towards me and I took five dollars from it.

We left with big grins on our faces. We got money and we could eat the chocolate ourselves. What more could we ask for?

I don’t know what spurred it, but I was thinking about her the other day. I didn’t at the time, but I wonder now. Why was she living all by herself? I remember the quiet calmness of her apartment. Where was her family? Why had they left her all alone?

I never thought of it back then. But perhaps I should have visited her again. Just drop by and say hello. Sit down for a spell and have a chat with her. Tell her about myself and ask about her. Ask her why she was all alone? Ask her what she did wrong to deserve to be left alone by all her loved ones when she needed them most. Not for chores and cooking…but just for company. Someone to remove the silence of her home.

And as I watch Heemu busy at play, I wonder if perhaps the same may happen to me. He turns to me every time he needs something, will he turn away when I’m in need of him.  He doesn’t like it that I busy myself with anything other than him. Will he, one day,  be too busy to even think about me.

What do I have that this old lady didn’t? Something that will encourage my Heemu to care for me when I’m in need of him. Allhumdulillah I have Islam. And the importance of being kind and caring towards your parents which is stressed by our deen. In trying to lead by example, I must behave towards my parents the way in which I would like for him to behave towards me. I should show compassion, patience, love and kindness when dealing with them. And I have du’a.  I pray that my offspring is kind and caring. I pray that he (and if Allah wills, any others) is righteous and steadfast on his deen. May Allah (swt) bless them and protect our children from the fitan of this duniya. Ameen.

“Rabbighfir lii wa liwaalidayya wa lilmu"miniina yauma yaquumul'hisaab, Rabbirhamhumaa kamaa rabbayaanii shaghiiraa."

O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they have nourished me when I was young.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Love, for the Sake of Allah (SWT)

There is someone out there, right now, thinking of my son. And she loves him probably just as much as I do. Someone I haven’t known long and don’t know very well. Someone who I used to see around the mosque when she was a little child. This wonderful little girl would always have a little shy smile on her face. Big dark eyes would meet yours and two little dimples would appear on her cheeks, one on each side. Back then, she was just a little cute kid and I, a busy student who could only spare a fleeting smile.
After I got married, I moved away. My visits home were few and far in between. Eventually, S. and I left the country for 6 months and when I came back I was expecting. Most of my time was spent in Toronto.
I was going to deliver at my parent’s house. My doctor was in Waterloo and so there were lots of frequent visits to the city. Often at the mosque I would see her. It had been almost two years and she was older and taller. But she still had the shy, dimple embellished smile. Focused on the new baby, I was still pretty aloof with her. To me, she was a good little Muslimah with a cute little smile.
Ibraheem was born on the 7th of Ramadan. Still more than half the month to go and not wanting to be home alone with the baby, I was often at the mosque for taraweeh prayers. And this little girl, became a good companion. She was there, waiting at the door, ready to help me carry the bags and car seat to the basement. She sat right next to Ibraheem’s seat, stroking his hand and just gazing. There would be other kids too. All awed by the cute little baby boy…but long after they had left, she would still be sitting and stroking.
And then, when Ibraheem was about four months, we moved to KSA. We went back in the summer, the time was divided between Toronto and Waterloo. A regular at the masjid, we would see her throughout the day. And she would just be around Ibraheem. Holding him, chasing him, playing with him. During taraweeh, it was such a blessing to have an extra pair of eyes and hands to keep a look out for Ibraheem. And he was quite the handful.
I started calling her his special little friend. Because she was. Always there at the door of the mosque, waiting. Ready to help carry the bag or the baby down to the basement. Playing with him, sitting with him, feeding him… she was just so good with him. And when he started recognizing her, Ibraheem would be super happy to see her as well. She was the perfect older sister, the perfect little baji.
Ramadan was over, the moon had been sighted. And we were going back to Toronto for the remaining days before heading back to KSA. I felt sad when we said our last good byes. She said, “I hope he doesn’t forget me”. I assured her that I would remind him of his special baji and we’d stay in touch, Insha’Allah.
I still don’t know much about her. Our topic of conversation is always Ibraheem and his antics. I don’t know the little things; her favourite colour, what she likes to read, what her hobbies are. If  asked, I could barely muster a handful of facts about her. But all I know is that she loves and cares for my little baby.
Not because she’s related and she has too.
Not because my baby is the cutest little thing.
Not because there aren’t any other little babies, more cute and well mannered.
Not because she hopes to gain something from me by showing affection for my son.
No, she loves him for the sake of Allah.  She feels the same pride I do when I tell her about all the milestones Ibraheem has reached. She truly and sincerely cares. And in this world where everyone is looking to benefit from someone somehow, this unconditional love from an almost stranger is unheard of.
And so little girl with the shy smile, cute little dimples and big dark eyes…I love you for loving my baby, for being their for him, for being his special baji. I love you H. for the sake of Allah (SWT).
As Ibraheem gets older, he won’t remember all the loving hands and hearts that hold him close and care for him. If Allah wills and I’m still around when he’s able to understand. I’ll tell him about his infant and toddler days. And all the hands and hearts the cared for and loved him. Especially his special little friend.

Monday, February 28, 2011

That’s all that matters.

The best view for me is the one without my glasses and Ibraheem seated on my lap, chattering away. For my farsighted eyes, everything else is a blur except his handsome face.
The sparkle in his eyes and the dimple on his cheek when he smiles, just melt my heart. I cherish his pearly whites, peeking at me whenever he opens his mouth and the feel of his little fingers tracing the landscape of my face.
A soft poke at my closed lids.
A little, gentle push with his index finger.
“Mouffff.” (He still can’t make the ‘th’ sound)
His finger slowly traces my lips and as I smile, he touches my teeth.
This is when nothing else matters.
Not the clutter of his toys, strewn all around the living room.
Not the cookie crumbs sprinkled like sand on the carpet.
Not the untouched pile of books that are supposed to be read before the summer vacation.
All that looks hazy and bleary.
The only thing in focus is my son. And that’s all that matters.
As he crawls out of  my lap, bored of his biology lesson, I thank Allah for my farsightedness. Grateful for those precious and blessed moments, when everything else is a blur, except for his face, inches away from mine.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What have I done?

What a long way we've come, from those days of carefree fun.
The days when there was no worry, no rush, no panic, no hurry.
When we lived in the moment, no fear of what is to come.
The days of youth, how solemn they've become.
We've realized our mistakes, and tried to make amends.
Realized that every stick will break, if, too far it's bent.
We've shunned old habits and idle talk.
We've finally learned to walk the Prophet's walk.
We've stepped into our Mother's shoes and understood her worries and woes.
We've accepted that we're humans, created to do sin.
Striving to suppress the shaitan within.
We've acknowledged that with open arms Allah awaits,
For His true believer to make haste.
Before the time comes when time will be no more.
When the hearts of whom we leave behind, will be sore.
When two sheets of white will replace our glamour and galore.
When for the questions we're asked, we'll have an answer, none.
Then we'll ask "What have I done?"

Nothing left behind and nothing to look forward to.

The dynamics in the Middle East are changing ever so quickly. Tunisia has kicked off a revolution of sorts. I am glad we were able to visit Jordan, Syria and Yemen and see first hand the state of these countries under the current leaders. The tourist venues and places of interest were very well maintained and clean. But driving around the countries, there were many areas that were badly in need of repair.  It was quite clear that the wealth is not distributed evenly through out the two countries. There was hardly any middle ground between the posh and impoverished. It makes you wonder how these people are able to live in such deteriorating conditions for so long. No wonder they've pounced on this opportunity to bring about change. And now, when pro-Mubarak protesters are ruining the peaceful protests, the army is encouraging the people to go home. Go home to what? A dark home and no food on the table? To a life that will be no different then the one they just left behind? To days of boredom with no job or goals? These people had nothing to occupy themselves and they came out to protest for lack of something better to do. Social bums created by  the 'leaders for life', finally standing up and demanding their rights.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Yay for wireless!

Allhumdulillah we found this really good wireless provider, Zain. I can't believe we didn't know about it before. They should really have a welcome package for the new comers here and have all this information in there. (Hmm...that's a eureka moment..) So we had this extremely slow cable net connection which took forever to download. We also have VOIP so it was always conflicting with the sound on the phone. Unfortunately this new wireless doesn't have a connection for the VOIP. I think we might just downgrade the cablenet and keep it just for the phone. But yay for wireless! I feel so mobile and liberated. And we don't have to worry about the half a dozen wires protruding for underneath the desk which Heemu loves to pull! Allhumdulillah!

I think this place is finally starting to feel like home. It only took like about a year! I guess because I know that we're not going to live here permanently, that thought made the transition much more delayed. Last year, I was anxiously waiting for the summer so I could go back home. This year, not so much, because I feel like I'm home already. Allhumdulillah, I have a really good neighbour right next door. We're always making random visits and sharing food. Plus I'm keeping busy with some other friends during the week as well (shopping trips, playdates, cooking dates, initiating a book club of sorts as well). I'm going to the gym and hope to Insha'Allah join a tajweed class too. My mind is too occupied with things to do to remember that I have to go back in the summer.

Plus I have started making some pleasure buys to make the place more homely. Well at least the kitchen. That's the one place that Heemu can't tear apart. Once Ibraheem gets a little older, I'll dress up the family room as well. Right now it's very bare but very baby friendly. We got the place furnished so not having had the satisfaction of decorating myself may have also added to the 'hotel-like' feeling of the place. But I've started jazzing it up a little, started giving it my own special touch. I've started 'owning' the place. And that has helped to make it feel like a home. But in the long run, when I think of settling down, I don't see myself here. My idea of home will always be Canada. That's where I grew up, that's where I spent a good chunk of my life, made many good friends and captured so many memories. If Allah wills, that's where I would like my children to grow up as well, Insha'Allah. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Rain, rain..

A couple of weeks ago we had some rain here in Yanbu. Allhumdulillah! It was such a beautiful experience. There was a certain calm in the air, as if everything was just anticipating that first drop of rain to fall and quench an eternal thirst. We went for a drive after the rain, the neighbourhood was glistening and smelled so nice. The sun was peeking through the passing clouds and the vegetation was blooming anew. It was beautiful!

However, it is also a cause of concern when it rains. Because rains are so rare (1-3 times a year), the city is lacking in a proper drainage. You'll find huge puddles on the road and in the neighbourhoods. A bigger worry is the possibility of your roof caving in. My neighbour's roof caved in last year, this year it was leaking again. The drain pipes were blocked by leaves. So as I enjoyed this bounty from Allah, I also kept an ear and eye on any unusually dripping in the house. Allhumdulillah, there was none. Needless to say, I got my roof cleaned  ASAP!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It's been a while. A very long while. Things have been so hectic since we got back to the Kingdom. Ibraheem had a tough time getting adjusted to the significantly reduced number of people (5 to 2) catering to his needs. Slowly, he got used to hanging out with Mama and Baba. These past couple of months, Ibraheem also achieved many milestones. Walking, talking, parroting, and he has a good set of vocabulary now as well. A mix of English, Urdu and Arabic words. 

Sajjad has been busy with the college. As for myself, just busy being a Mommy and wife...I wouldn't have it any other way. Allhumdulillah! I've done lots of experimenting withe new dishes, recipes to follow, Insha'Allah. And some have failed but most were a success. During the Hajj break, we took a trip to Jordan and Syria with another family friend. Insha'Allah I'll write about that experience in the next entry. Right now...have to put Ibraheem to sleep. It's bed time...and most probably, I'll be asleep before him.