Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mission Packing -

It is close to midnight and my eyes are almost closed, but so rarely do i get a blog request. So Azmina, this is for you. Ladies who are going on the retreat - have you seen the itenarary??????????? What have we gotten ourselves into??

To Pack (in order of when you will require them)
1. Bathtowel (for those who require their own! for the rest of us, it will be provided)

2. Supplies for the bath ie.. shower gel, shampoo, and deo
OPTIONAL: Face products, perfume

3. Clothing:
a. Track pants
b. Comfortable tops (I dont think there will be much emphasis on hijabi clothing as it is a women's retreat!!)
c. Abba - incase of black clothes alert!
d. Intimates -should i go into further detail??? All i have to say about this is - disposables alllllll the way!!!
e. Socks
f. Winter jacket
g. Scarf (for those that will not be wearing one on the trek to Barrie)

4. Food:
a. Chocolate
b. Candy
c. Any junk food!!!!!

5. Islamic gear:
a. Quran with translation
b. musalo with muhr (bring the one we got at haj)
c. Dua book for after namaaz
OPTIONAL: paper and pen - incase of sudden interest!

6. Meds:
a. Immodium (important!)
b. Tylenol
c. Cough syrup/tablets
OPTIONAL: Cyprol :)
Ladies, pls refrain from taking any vaccinations for the purpose of this trip. The organizers are preparing a special retreat vaccine - to boost our spiritual immune systems. Results may vary!Pls note: This vaccine has never been administered before! Pls excerise caution.

7. Tons of personality

Am I missing anything???

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Where's Waldo?

Align Left

Try and follow the tune:

Dear Allah has a home - E I E I O

And in his home, He had some pilgrims -E I E I O

With people here and people there,

Here people, there people,

Everywhere people, people!

Dear Allah has a home - E I E I O

The Criterion by men

I am going to take a detour from my haj trip.

Last Saturday marked the first day of the Islamic calendar - Muharram. Shiites mourn the massacre of the grandson of the Muhammed (PBUH) and his family. One of great traditions of this month is the daily majlises.

Today's majlis made me go hmmmmmmmm. The maulana talked about marriage and its benefits (which I completely agree with). What bothered me was his stereotypical potrayal of women.

Women shouldnt choose a partner based on the car a man drives or on his wealth was his message. I waited for him to continue, but he didnt.

First of all, few women still enter into a marriage for financial gain. I think as a result of our education, women make marriage decisions after considering akhlaq, chemistry and education.

More importantly, what of the criterion the men have set? Sounds a little like this:

The woman I will marry
- will not wear hijab
- must cook and clean
- will contribute to the running of the household

And so on ..... I can deal with the 2nd and 3rd point, but the first is a huge problem. This problem needs to be addressed especially from the mimbar. This new criterion some men have set have put women who observe hijab in a difficult spot.

I wish, rather than furthering wife and mother in law stereotypes, issues such as the above would be addressed from the pulpit!

Most Compehensive Pictures To Date

I want to say a special thanks to Nishat and Ali Jessa for taking some great haj pictures. I love the candid shots, and how the pictures reflect the diversity around us. Love them!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Thinking About Blogging

Today I realized time is slipping away. When I was in haj, I made mental notes about interesting things I would love to blog about, but when I think about it, I am overwhelmed. I cannot figure out whether I should write chronologically, or to write based on significance. The problem is time. It is not the lack of it, but with every event comes a "write" time frame. I feel like my "write" time about haj is quickly coming to an end and I haven't even started writing. I am feeling pressed for time!!!

I will soon begin documenting my trip - according to importance to me. Should I run out of time, here are some things I would have loved to talk about.

1. The "khhhh" phenomenon (you know - the sound that accompanies the dispelling of phlegm - urg)
2. The paradox of value - our reverence of Janaat -ul - Baqi and little attention paid to Janaat -ul- Maula
3. The Exodus - connections I made to the India/Pakistan separation during our journey out of Mina
4. Squatting in style - my expert advise for the wanabe Hajis
5. Beyond the books - looking beyond dua and quran for spirituality - looking at my surroundings and reflecting on my journey was the best part of my trip
6. Vertical and Horizontal relationships. Bonds are created - between you and Allah (vertical relationship) and between you and your community (horizontal relationships). For me haj was all about the horizontal - creating new bonds and re-establishing and mending old friendships.
7. Rooftop spirituality - numb noses and toes did not stop us from attending the rooftop majlises led by Abbas Virji and Sheikh Amar (why isn't Abbas referred to as Sheikh)
8. Appreciations - Where should I begin?

Enjoying nearness to Allah on a quiet day :)


Haj is all about change - well, for most. Looking around me in Mina, I realized that while we were all trying to make some changes in our lives, most of the men made a significant change in their physical appearance.

Here is Asif before Halaq:

Asif and friends after halaq

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Arsenal Who?

That's what people are going to be saying after their match on Sunday against Man U!!

For the past four years, Man U has gotten no respect in this house. I have had to work in an Arsenal glorifying environment. I have been tricked into not purchasing Man U memorabilia and many attempts have been to brainwash me(And I almost budged after I saw Reyes ... ohhh!!).

I have a feeling my luck is changing... Arsenal's God - Henry - has been sleeping and his goals seem more like luck than skill! On Sunday, skill will challenge luck! On Sunday, Man U will find glory in this house!!


Anis - I am rooting for Chelsea as well. There is no place for Liverpool in the English Premire League - its a league for champions.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Materialistic joy!!

Introducing my new love - my new laptop! So excited to be blogging infront of my tv!!


Celebrating History

This month, let us celebrate history - it is Black History Month.

Monday, January 15th marked Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King, along with individuals like Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges helped to change the face of racism.

One of the special books I read on this day is "Martin's Big Words". This book really has the power to move me - almost to tears (tears are rare for me). It introduces people to words important to the revolution - words like FREEDOM, PEACE, LOVE, KINDNESS and JOY!

I would like to wish all those who have dealt with some sort of racism - joy and peace!

Who knows? Maybe one day we will have Islamic History Month and we will celebrate history through individuals like you who have taken daily strides to promote peace and joy.

Maybe one of these guys??!!

With Love...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Generations of Silenced Girls

I cant get over I almost did not go for the walking ziyaraat in Mecca! To think I almost went shopping - my vanity continues to surprise me!

I stood in silence for several minutes at this spot.

During the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), women were not held in high regard (somethings never really change). One of the cruelest practices of this time was to bury new born baby girls alive. Why? Girls were regarded as "shameful" and girls cannot carry their father name through history. I don't know... call me crazy, but if I had a father who wanted me dead, I wouldn't want to carry his name either!

Here is the graveyard where the newborn baby girls were buried alive. Let their death not go in vain. Their silence says more than my words can -

"I wasn't free", I hear them whispering in my ears. "You are, you are, you are...."

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Little Mosque On The Prairie

Love it! This new sitcom aired today - Tuesday on channel 6 at about 8:30pm

Basically it is about a little Muslim community trying to purchase a mosque and build a community.


I loved the character of the typical maulana (the kind that takes his pagri off and cries into a huge rumal). Shortly after being introduced to typical maulana sahib enters the "Abbas Virji/Sheikh Amar" type maulana! I need to say it again - LOVE IT!

For anyone who thought of the hijab as unattractive, this show will make you think again. The female lead - fully covered - was absolutely gorgeous.

And what Muslim community would be complete without Mama Fatema - a proud Muslim woman tightly holding on to traditions and lamb curry!

While I think this show is the best thing to air on national television since Dancing With Stars (conflict of interest here!?!), I am afraid to find out what the rest of the Muslim population thought of it... I hope it is viewed with humour and an understanding that such media attention will serve to educate people. What kind of education can people get?

1. Muslims are normal - sometimes even funny!!
2. Constantly labeling us as "terrorist" affects our daily lives
3. Like all other communities, we have insecurities
4. Hijab is beautiful

And I got all of this from watching ONE show! It is a MUST see!

Name: Little Mosque On The Prairie
Airs: Tues, Channel 6 @ 8:30pm and/or Weds - CBC @ 8:00pm

Monday, January 08, 2007


Standing, well more like sleeping, on the photocopying machine during lunch, a teacher asks me,
"Fatema, how are you here after your trip?"
"With great difficultly" I responded and I meant it.

My eyes are drooping. I long for either a large Tim Horton's double-double or my bed!

Okay, so I know I resolved not to complain but I think it is okay - just this once!

I feel upset because I was unable to enjoy my morning coffee. When I walked into my class this morning, I was so unimpressed to see the state of my class .. books on the carpet, food on the floor, papers everywhere.. urg! I spent the whole morning cleaning. In all this chaos, my hot coffee quickly turned cold and stood unhappy and forgotten on my desk! All because of my inefficient MALE supply teacher!

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Never has my soft mint-green comforter looked as good as it did yesterday. After wolfing down a home cooked meal (thanks mom), I jumped into my bed and embraced my comforter. Familiar scents of home greeted me. I fluffed my pillow. Hmmm..... life was good. Thoughts I had been harbouring of changing my comforter for the past few years quickly left port. I LOVE my comforter, my bed, my kitchen, my dingy, old desktop computer! I love it all. I am definitely happy to be home!

Like all the other 2006-2007 hajis, I have come down with a case of Hajities. Coined by Ruqayyah and Sidika, Hajities comes from the root word Bronchitis and it simply means having a severe cough and an uncomfortable cold. I would like to add another dimension to this term.

Hajities affects not only a haji's physical being, but his or her mental capacity as well. I awoke quite a few times last night, unaware of where I was. I guess being on the road for three weeks and staying at random "NO FRILL" hotels, overloaded tents and outdoor airport terminals would do that to you. In addition to feeling misplaced, all day long I have been expecting people to come home. I need to keep reminding myself - I no longer live with eight roommates, I can take a fifteen minute guiltless shower, zuhr and asr is 2 and 2 rakaats, I mean, 4 and 4 not 2 and 2 rakaats, and food will not be served on the mezzanine level... I have to cook again :(

Wow... getting over hajities is harder than I expected! While I am definitely glad to be home, I think I am already missing my haj family! I believe it is true what people say - "The friends you make during haj are the friends you will have for life!"