Eid Mubarak, Syria </3

I just published by 70th post on my blog wishing everyone a Eid Mubarak – and this post, is dedicated to you my Syria.

This is the seventh Eid you experience – in turmoil.

The seventh Eid you’ve been showered with the blood of your martyrs, purified in thick red, dressed with the smell of their musk.

The seventh Eid you’ve witnessed, in the shade of 200,000 martyrs gazing down at you, from the heavens.

The seventh Eid, Syria. The seventh Eid.

I weep for your newborns, who don’t know the meaning of Eid.
I weep for your children, who don’t run the streets and dress neatly, sleep excitedly, awaiting the big day.
I weep for your orphans, who ask for gifts greater than our understanding, who ask for their parents back, on Eid.
I weep for the wife, whose husband’s whereabouts remains unknown, who hides her tears and broken heart, comforting her children with a brave smile.
I weep for the husband, whose wife raped, killed, and disfigured. His children cry at night for their mother’s care and touch, and he weeps silently for his life-long partner – the mother of his children’s comfort, secrecy, and presence.
I weep for the parents, who almost blinded by tears, look for their children in every corner and alleyway with fading hope they remain alive.
And for every brother and sister, mother and father, son and daughter, wife and husband, every person who has lost their beloved – unable to spend this blessed day with them – just one last time.

I weep out of helplessness. My lack of understanding of what you go through. My intolerance and selfishness. My ignorance.
I know nothing of your struggle.
I own nothing of your courage.

But I pray, I pray that soon the gunfire will stop. The rain will cease to be red. The flowers will blossom, and the children will smile again.
I pray that Eid day will be celebrated again, truly, and genuinely, with heart-felt laughter, sunshine, and jasmine.
I pray that happy little feet will run across your beloved land, dirty little hands will caress your soil – the carelessness of young happy children will make you weep with joy as they skip to the fairground after the last takbir of Eid prayers, emanating from minarets tall and strong.

Eid Mubarak my beautiful.
Eid Mubarak Syria <3

Personal: Eid Mubarak

NOTE: I haven’t written anything for ages, so please excuse my abruptness and any mishaps :)

It’s crazy how fast Ramadan has come and gone. Here in an instant – then gone – again – for a whole year – in a single flash.

I remember on the eve of Ramadan, I posted a post on instagram congratulating everyone on the blessed month, and drawing a comparison between Ramadan and tourism – praying that we all treat Ramadan in the same way tourists treat their holidays, exhausting every resource and tourist attraction to make the holiday worthwhile: seeking every gem, reaping every benefit to make our visit to this blessed month worthwhile.. and yet, I don’t know..

I don’t know how to describe my feelings – I don’t really understand my feelings. I guess I feel mainly sad – as if I haven’t reaped all the benefits I could have in Ramadan – all the objectives I had set out for myself, not a single one met. It was productive – no doubt – and incredibly spiritual at times, but not quite as much as I wanted it to be.
I remember reading on twitter – a few days before Ramadan, the story of the girl who tweeted about this Ramadan being the beginning of her hidayah (guidance), only to have died in a car crash a week before it started. And it scared me. It scared me so much – that I too, may die any moment, before Ramadan dawned upon the world and gates of al-Rayyan opened.
Yet still.. there remains a nagging feeling below, reminding me that I hadn’t done as much as I should have, or wanted to. And reprimanding me for the fear I had before Ramadan – sacred I won’t live to witness it, then the complacency which took over me after. But kheir.. I say, kheir. Now that the blessed gates are closed and the damned gates have opened, and Ramadan is slowly gathering its wings and flying out into the distance, I can only pray that God Almighty keeps me alive for yet another yeat, to witness another Ramadan, and to try again to reap every single benefit from the blessed month or mercy and forgiveness.

But alhamdulilah – I got through. I’m still alive by the grace of God, and I only pray that Allah swt has accepted my worship and fasting.
On the other hand – happiness. Guys, we got through! Whether graduated or not – the knowledge remains with our Lord – but alhamdulilah we got through – and now we have the rest of the year to prove to ourselves how much we really benefited from Ramadan! Because what matters is not only how you act in Ramadan, but how you act outside of Ramadan. And that – is the biggest challenge. I pray I’m up for it – my husband and family will be there to judge :)

Also happiness – happiness for the long-awaited Eid! The day in which our Lord ordained for us to celebrate – to take a break – to be happy. And what better day is there in the year, when your very creator has specifically chosen this day for you to celebrate and be happy? I can’t explain well – I can’t really articulate – but it saddens me when I see teenagers or Muslims not happy on Eid day. I too – when I hit a certain age – began seeing Eid day as a tradition, not fully internalising the beauty of such a day, where Muslims around the world celebrate – for one reason – to become closer to their Lord. It saddens me further when I see people refusing to celebrate Eid because of certain atrocities around the world.
Guys – that’s not how religion works. You don’t just decided whether or not you want to celebrate a day God has ordained for you to celebrate. And He the Almighty knows better than all of us, and He the Almighty is closer to our suffering brothers and sisters around the world than we could ever imagine to be.

So on that note – I’d like to wish everyone – if anyone even reads this blog :)a very happy Eid, and a wonderful celebration days with your family, friends, and all those beloved to you.

I on the other hand will be missing out on Eid with my parents and siblings as they’re still abroad (FOR THE FIRST TIME) :( but will insha’Allah be enjoying a beautiful Eid with my brilliant husband and in-laws.

Enjoooy! :)

So there’s this old guy I want to speak about.

I see him in the library every single day – he must be doing a PhD or some sort of institution-based research, I assume, otherwise how else would he get a pass into the university library?
He’s like a cute old Asian uncle, always smiling, always cheerful. He’s quite short and has the typical uncle round belly. His hair is white, and he has quite a long beard – dyed at the tip with henna. Everyday he comes in wearing a shirt tucked into his joggers, and usually those leather slippers you get from back home. Today he’s wearing trainers though, because it’s raining I guess.
He’s always walking between the Islamic section bookshelves, looking for books, then returning to his seat to read and sift through the pages.
I bumped into him once in the lift, where he gave me and my friend a huge cheerful smile, before averting his gaze to the door.

I don’t have much to say about him – other than the fact that I find him so inspiring. He’s clearly quite old – late 50’s, early 60’s I presume. Yet he’s in the university library, reading, researching. And he’s so humble – his clothes is humble, his walk is humble, his attitude is humble.
Such an inspiration, mashaAllah.

He literally brightens up my revision everyday when I see him shuffling up and down the aisles with his soft, happy, smiling face. A face which speaks on behalf of his lips – of patience, wisdom, and experience.

I wish there was a way I could tell him how inspiring he is to me, without sounding creepy or inappropriate.

May Allah swt preserve him for his family, increase him in His ranks, and make him amongst his best servants. Ameen.

The War is Over

| The war is over. A strong voice echoed all over the country through every single loudspeaker, repeating over and over again that peace had once again enveloped the land of the free. No more guns. No more bullets. The smoke cleared, and the long-absent clear blue sky returned, gradually – but instantly; uncovering itself, unraveling, behind the fading layer of smoke. The rubble began reassembling itself again, into the ancient neighbourhoods and archaic market places. The ground below split, slightly, as lilies and jasmine plants forced their way up through the dust and blood soaked ground, in celebration. Their martyrs had not died in vain, they sang, filling the air with the sweetest aroma of their voices, quenching their thirst on the love of their heroes. The sun peeked out, hesitant, seeking permission to join in the praise of the angels floating above. In the distance, two tear exhausted hazy brown eyes broke their reflection of melancholy.. into a smile. A mouth curved upwards, beaming widely, warm like the first breath of Spring, melting the last of the frost. A long forgotten joyous laugh escaping lips. Strange, but beautiful. And somewhere in the heavens, souls rejoiced.


If only.

Khedni 3ala blady

Everyone’s knows I’m a nostalgic person – it’s no secret. My sister always told I loved to live in the past – probably explains my love for history.
So I thought I’d share with you my nostalgia for memories and experiences that aren’t mine (amid my exams – yes I have an exam tomorrow!).

I guess the nostalgia started with my inability to focus on revision – I’m one of those people whose thoughts are scattered everywhere – very chaotic and have too many ideas for a very unstructured and disorganised mind. (See what I mean?)
So my thoughts began wandering off to my vacation in Jordan inshallah – in a month’s time. I began daydreaming of all the sha3bi markets and alleyways I’ll be wandering down with my husband, mother, and siblings – meeting family from Syria and old friends who live in Jordan. Seeing all the old historical spots. Finding different mosques and hiding in them during the heatwave every noon, reading Qur’an, listening to public recitations, praying, admiring religious life and activity inside the mosques. Praying tarawee7 in an Arab country and later walking out on streets flooded with people, shops just opening, falafel sandwiches and iced smoothies. Watching Levantine life for the first time in my life – desperately trying to experience what life in Syria (pre-revolution) would have been like. Imagining myself a native in my own land – and imagining how different my mindset and lifestyle would be.
Then – a Fairouz song from a playlist I’m listening to in the background came on – it was Teeri ya Tayara Teeri. And all of a sudden the mild nostalgia playing at back of my previous thoughts kicked in big time. I began imagining children running around barefoot on pale yellow concrete ground – flying kites, kicking a football, pushing each other, running to help an elderly woman with her bags of shopping up their block. Shouts of children and grocers alike in the background, Abdelbaset’s recitation trailing out of a bookstore meeting halfway with song trailing out of a radio a few stores away, and casual conversations filling up the steamy humid air. Tea on a just washed balcony. A fresh watermelon being diced somewhere a few balconies away. Men in galabiyat walking down the road casually. Slippers. Life.

Nassam 3alayna al-hawa just came on. Don’t even get me started. I think I’m close to tears.

Count yourself lucky if you’ve experienced life in an Arab country before. Namely the Levant.

UPDATE: i7kili 3an balady just came on. My heart is quivering.

Uncategorised ##

I remember three years ago when I published my first blogpost from my phone. It was a surreal experience, I was going through a difficult time, I knew the fault was mine but it was too late to make things better, and all I had where my midnight thoughts for company.
Of course I sought consolation from God, but I found it somewhat difficult to communicate with Him. I felt too ashamed to ask for help when I hadn’t fulfilled the asbaab.. When I hadn’t tied my camel down first, and only realised that it had wandered off into the forever gone distance when it was too late.

And here I am again. Blogging from my phone, with my thoughts for company. I seek reassurance in God but feel unworthy speaking to Him. I’ve messed up time and time again, why should I once think I’m worthy of being listened to? I raise my hands to complain to Him and find my hands as heavy as a rock, my heart detached despite the thousand fleeting feels whirling around in, it drowning it in emotion.

That’s it, drowning.

Because only God alone knows how to lift me up and put me back on my feet. Everything else is a mirage. Deceiving. Suffocating. Drowning.

I know this.

So why then. Why does everything feel heavy? Why then, am I finding it easier to complain to people but not the One and Only being who matters, and by Himself alone can change the state of my affairs?

I get scared and remember the countless stories they tell us of people approaching their death, who if attached to the world, will refuse or be unable to associate with God and will succumb to their desires even at their last breath.

I hope I’m not dying. Not yet. Ya rab.

Sincerity, they tell me, is the key. But how do I remain sincere when seeking it in the first place?

Ya rab, let this period pass and leave me in peace.

republished: Start

Originally posted on ibhog:

I remember sitting with my publisher and them saying: “I wouldn’t put this one in the book. It’s too preachy”.

Here’s to you. Written August 2012, and feels like a different era.

I still want to be back to Him.

Okay, it’s been ages so I’m just gonna cut into the chase. It’d be long, but I want you to at least read the lesson learned.

I want to be better. I want to be better with God. One of the reasons I changed the banner of this blog (yes, check it out) is that I need change that would lead me somehow into that direction. I know a picture isn’t suddenly going to turn me into a religious man, or at once make me achieve all that I which I’ve been wanting to achieve, for ages.

Last year after Ramadan I made a pact with myself. I told…

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