ان تكونوا تألمون فإنهم يألمون كما تألمون

Something my father reminded me of today, as I returned home – knees shaking uncontrollably – drenched in my tears. Why do I still hurt baba? It’s been six months baba, why is it all coming back with a fresh burning sting? Why do I still care knowing they never did?
I have faith Razan, he tells me, I have faith they too hurt. Perhaps not as deeply as you do. But all humans hurt, all humans regret. Just take it easy, stop killing yourself over them in your lows and stop trying to force yourself to move on too quickly in your highs.

I weep on his shoulder, not knowing whether I want believe they have feelings after all I’ve been put through. I managed to overcome the first hurdle by deleting all the pictures, emails, and texts. I’m yet to overcome the second in deleting all my notes – the ones I would write in my sadness and happiness on my iPhone. The ones I would pass to him in lectures – or that time the Jordanian taxi driver tried cheating us and we communicated via notes? I’d type and pass my phone to him and he would reply. My very phone, cracked and broken to the core – and every time I take the case off I remember the time he apologetically showed me what he’d done to it, and I remember laughing at the clumsiness of it all.

I don’t think I’m strong enough baba. I should be stronger by now. I keep flailing. I get this feeling baba, I want to be remote. I wish this never happened to me, baba. I can’t handle it.

You can, and you are – and you’re coping better than others. God saved you Razan, look at where you are now and where you were then. You may have loved deeply, you may have been abused – hurt – scarred, you may feel like you’re falling back – but He saved you. God’s plan is always to save us. Keep your faith in Him. Believe yourself when you say you believe in Him. Trust in His words when you read: ما أصاب من مصيبة في الأرض ولا في أنفسكم الا في كتاب من قبل ان نبرائها

Adorn yourself in His remembrance and have faith truly, that الا بذكر الله تطمئن القلوب

Shoutout to all babas who are practically the bestest friends, advisors – and whole-rounded persons in the world. <3

| She raised her head to the heavens in silent prayer, praying to the One to make her someone capable. Someone capable of being loved. Someone capable of breaking boundaries and penetrating uncharted realms. Someone bearable – someone not overbearing. Someone she too could be content with – someone she too could love.

| She stood on the edge of life, one foot grounded in the sand, the other wavering in the air – posited to fall into a timeless, endless, space.
“Do you know what imposing suffocating caution eventually does to a person?” She questioned him, her fingers reaching towards the blinding ball centered in the middle of the sky, daring to touch it.
“What does it do?” He asks, his eyebrows furrowing in curious skepticism.
“Reckless.” She responds. “It craves them recklessness.”

and next year I pray for my Eid clothes to be a simple abaya, washed – throughout the day – in the sweat of repentance.

the only Eid gift I wish for this year is to be there next year, and the only Eid gift I pray for next year, is to spend the eve on Arafat – in solitude – amid the murmurs of a thousand splendid tongues, in supplication to Him.

to walk the path of generations before me, side by side every continent – every city – every heritage – every history – every identity ever existing in the world.

to embark on a journey of a lifetime, long-awaited in patient tender heartthrob.

God shortlist me for the interview. God select me. God choose me. God make me among your pilgrims in the year after this.


On Appreciation and Love:

Sometimes, when you’re brought up in quite a traditional home – you’re not used to openly telling other members of your family that you love them. You know, because it’s already there – it’s a given. It’s also awkward to great extents – I mean imagine me telling my younger brothers I love them? Oh God Lord. They’ll probably avoid me for a month.

But then there’s your parents. My parents always call me ‘mbarbkeh’ – I can’t think of a translation for that, but they say it in jest and that is what is most important (obviously), because out of all my siblings I tend to hug them most – kiss their hands most – do all of those stuff most. I suppose it was (and is) my way of telling them how much I love and respect them without necessarily uttering the words which suddenly feel so heavy – sound so awkward when coming out of my mouth when speaking to them. When I lived away from them it was much easier for me to tell them I loved them, and even then I remember a time where they completely ignored me (actual lol – FAC 11, Mufti Menk made us all take our phones out past midnight on the first day and text our parents we love them). But since my divorce I’m not sure I’ve told them how much I love them — in words. Guilt often consumes me for what I’ve put them through – it hurt seeing my parents crying over my pain, they’d already been through enough in their lives to go through this as well. It hurt seeing my father’s tired, sad face when he’d come down to check on me at 2am and finding me in the state I was in – or seeing my mother dissolve into tears after refusing to tear up in front me and constantly being my strength for so long.

I’ve been having one of those nights where my appreciation for everyone has me in guilt at how much I slack in communication. Be it with God, with family, or with friends. And even more so family — we’re in the most blessed days of the year and entering the most blessed of those blessed days – and I realise how I haven’t properly shown appreciation to my siblings for a while. Nor to my parents – who have been away for a few days – putting me in charge of household affairs (never has life been so stressful). And nor, ultimately, to God. I was listening to a duaa throughout the day today, and suddenly certain invocations jumped at me. They were neither new duaas – nor elaborate ones, in fact ones we hear often and repeat even more. But absent-minded, without fully appreciating and understanding their implication:

اللهم لا إله إلا أنت ما عبدناك حق عبادتك

اللهم لا تجعل مصيبتنا في ديننا

ولا تجعل الدنيا أكبر همنا

Hard hitting right? So much slack in our worship for Him, the Lord of the Worlds – it scares you that your calamity may be in your deen, which eventually renders your biggest interests, and worries, and investments in life – worldly based, in this life only, forgetting the next. God, make my calamities in this life in anything apart from my faith and health. Everything but my faith in you — my substance — my deen. And my health.

So how does this all link to expressing love for family? In praising and thanking God for everything, in recognising our slack in our duty towards Him, we appreciate others more. Because in thanking and praising God, you (almost automatically) begin doing the same for others around you.

لا يشكر الله من لا يشكر الناس

In thanking God, you thank your parents. In loving God, you love your parents. In worshiping God, you are more mindful of our duties towards your parents – as God has ascribed for you. And perhaps – perhaps in sending a whatsapp message to your mother telling her you love her whilst tears roll down your cheek in utmost appreciation and love, God will open your heart and the stream of tears – which have been locked for what seems like ever – in your next salah, granting you that long-awaited khushou’ – clarity – and platform for submission.

{وقليل من عبادي الشكور}

اللهم اجعلنا من عبادك القليل

my aunt.

How they find strength after losing their everything – almost their life, God only knows.

Second time lucky, my aunt escapes a barrel bomb falling directly on top of her house. Second time lucky Khaleh, you survive and your life is most valuable to us. Second time Khaleh, you see your home explode into smithereens – you see your sanctuary turned into rubble – you see everything collapsing around you and for the first time – you’re buried in the rubble waiting for the civil defence to save you – because of a coward pushing buttons in the sky – and another coward decaying in his sadism in a palace a few hundred miles away.

You were buried in the rubble Khaleh. A fact I can’t process yet. They rushed you to the make-shift hospital. Emergency. But you survived, all praises to God.

And yet we call people who silently condone Assad and deny his barrels principled – because of a few sensationalist words they throw around? God save us, if we champion the reeking opportunism of a few Godless people before championing our families threatened -every single day- by barrels.