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Monthly Archives: July 2011

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And I quote

HF is preparing to leave for work and sprays himself with cologne. He then grimaces as it burns his post-shave skin.

Me: Why spray it on your neck if it burns? Why not spray it somewhere else?
HF: Like where?
Me: I don’t know, your wrists?
HF: Real men don’t wear perfume on their wrists.
Me: No?
HF: They wear it on their fists. Muwahaha!

There’s hope for humanity after all…

The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said:

“There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade:

  • a just ruler;
  • a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah- the Mighty and Majestic;
  • a man whose heart is attached to the mosques;
  • two men who love each other for Allah’s sake- meeting for that and parting upon that;
  • a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position (for illegal intercourse), but he says: ‘I fear Allah’,
  • a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity;
  • and a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.'”

(Abu Hurairah & collected in Saheeh al-Bukhari (English trans.) vol.1, p.356, no.629 & Saheeh Muslim (English trans.) vol.2, p.493, no.2248)

I saw two people standing in jamaa’ for prayer on a sidewalk in Garhoud the other night.

They were teenagers, and they were praying Isha.

No older man/father/authority figure was leading the jamaa’, and there was no apparent need for the urgency in their salah- they could have prayed Isha later that night by themselves, at home on a rug instead of outside on hard cement in front of Fuddruckers.

May they grow to be righteous men, and may I be able to give them big, squeezy hugs in Jannah, where it won’t be a sin anymore.  They made my day, and this old fogie of a thirty year old has a new respect for teenagers.  Just because they dress like greasy, gangly doofuses in pink polo shirts with popped collars doesn’t mean they don’t have stronger Taqwa than I do.

May Allah grant them Jannatul Firdaus. 🙂 Ameen!

What Musfira *really* means

Alhamdulillah, my new baby girl is a little over a month old now, and when she is first introduced to friends and family members, I am inevitably asked what her name means, and inevitably, I have a hard time trying to give the answer. Here’s why:

Imagine this- a blast has just sounded, tearing through the sky. It is so loud it can be heard throughout the entire world. Every living thing, except as Allah has willed, has dropped dead. The mountains themselves have vanished- reduced to dust and blown away. The seas are gone, the earth has been flattened to one tremendous expanse, and without a doubt, it is the Day of Judgment. Then the blast sounds again, and the dead are coming back to life.

Look around you- there is pandemonium. People are in a state of terror and panic, fleeing wildly in all directions, men from their wives, children from their parents, brothers from their brothers. Some are trying to escape, some are sobbing, others are begging to be destroyed rather than judged. The hell that they’d been writing off as a figment of monotheistic imagination has been stoked and brought near, and amidst the wailing and crying out for destruction, you can hear the inferno drawing in great roaring breaths. It’s alive, and it knows it’s about to be fed.

But wait, what’s this? From within the sea of darkened, tear-stained, dust-covered faces you can see points of light- and they are people shining with happiness. They are unaffected by the fear or misery, and are instead overjoyed, laughing out loud, delighted, and elated that the promise of justice they have been waiting their whole lives for is about to be fulfilled. They are not looking towards the mouth of hell drawing breath in the distance, but rather to the gates of Jannah, as Paradise has been drawn near, and the only thing standing between them and eternal happiness is a meeting with Allah, whose blessed Face they have been yearning, not dreading, to see.

Some faces that Day, will be Musfira– bright. Laughing, rejoicing at good news. Surah ‘Abasa

Some girls are named for beauty, intelligence, or success. Some even for precious gems- Almas means diamond, Lulu means pearl. Others are named for righteous qualities- Saima is one who fasts, Naasira is one who is helpful- but I wanted to name my daughter something that would point her towards the one thing that would mean the most to her in this life and the next- when the world had been destroyed and remade, and the dead had been raised, and every recorded action hung in the scale of balance, I wanted her to be among those shining with joy. I wanted her to be Musfira.

And so she is- baby Musfira.

May Allah guide her and keep her on the path of righteousness.

May she shine with joy in this life and the next.


Red Velvet Ramblings

So Musfira is very nearly a month old now. SubhanAllah. All in all she’s a lovely baby. She sleeps reasonably well during the day and although we do have a nightly fuss from around 10:30 to about 1 am, it could be worse. In fact, it was worse with Khalid and Iman, with Khalid being jaundiced, tongue-tied and constantly fussing and Iman being colicky.

So how can I describe her? Well, she’s pink. And her eyes are grey, though they’ll turn brown later InshaAllah. She has lovely little hands and feet, and despite voraciously chewing, gnawing, and sucking on any hand, towel, blanket or shirt collar that comes within two centimeters of her mouth, she refuses to use a pacifier. She cannot yet say it, but I know she’s thinking ‘PTUI!’ as she spits her “New, Natural Shape! Perfect for Newborns!” pacifier out. We’ve gone through three of them already, my hope being that maybe this shape will be better. I only really need her to use a pacifier when I’m driving, because many of the roads in Dubai have lost their shoulders in favor of one more traffic lane, so stopping to feed her isn’t always an immediate option.

What else? She has the most kissably soft cheeks. Really. Her skin feels like velvet. It is unanimously accepted (by Owl, HF, and I) that it has to have been all the cupcakes I was eating before she was born. She’s a red velvet baby, not only for the warm and fuzzy softness, but also because she comes with a distress alert system. Either she’s baby-pink all’s well, or she’s red-alert red and working up to a good cry, complete with pouty face.

Her hobbies? Contemplating fluorescent lights above her changing station in the bathroom and collecting fuzz from her blanket and keeping it tightly balled in her itty-bitty fists.

Her special skills involve remarkable bladder and bowel control that allow her to time her ambushes perfectly for the moment when she has been washed, dried, and just laid down on the changing station to be diapered.

Her top speed is three diapers in five minutes.

Her signature moves are slow-motion baby kung-fu and spitting up precisely down the front of momma’s shirt.

Her pet peeves are socks that fall off in the mall the day after momma bought them (ok, maybe that’s mine).

She’s the most beautiful baby in the entire world. SubhanAllah. And after 20 hours of labor and an hour left before the doctors prepped me for an emergency c-section, she was born a cheerful bright blue with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. But that seems like a lifetime ago, and she’s always been here, always swaddled in the flannel blanket with the ducks on it, and we go to meetings together where she sleeps through the boring parts but wakes up to share her opinions on important things like gas and why it’s better out than in.

Yes, it does take us forever to get anywhere these days, because we have to account for feedings, diaper changes, inconsolable crying, and the stroller being a huge pain to remove from the trunk. And yes, that one time I tried to drive home by myself it took two and a half hours to drive just a few miles because she would not stop crying in her car seat and I could not safely drive with that level of panic in her wailing. I can’t help it- when she’s stressed, I’m stressed- and I think that’s part of the job description of being a mother. If you’re not unable to tolerate your newborn suffering, then you might not be likely to cope with insanely insufficient amounts of sleep and the back-breaking labor of feeding, cleaning, maintaining, rocking, burping, and sustaining a tiny person with no self-preservation skills beyond a cry that tears your heart into tiny pieces.

Khalid and Iman adore Musfira. Really. Khalid wants to kiss her CONSTANTLY. Like once every few seconds. And that can get very frustrating when I’ve just gotten her to sleep and in burst the kids- Iman wants to give Musfira a toy, Khalid wants to kiss her again, and when I whisper at them to leave, they get mad and loud and wake up Musfira up. When I get desperate I lock the door until Musfira is asleep and hope the kids banging on the other side of it doesn’t wake her. But like I said, it could be worse. They adore her. They just adore her a little too much, too hard, and too loud for a newborn.

Musfira is very well loved, even if a little over-cuddled and way too well-traveled for a little girl who hasn’t been in this world for an entire four weeks yet. She and I went to two meetings and spent three hours in a furniture warehouse within the first four days of her being born. We do banks and groceries and summer camp for Khalid and Iman. We stay up late at night watching classic Japanese Anime to bide our nightly fuss, and we have collectively decided that if you make a cartoon in Japan that does NOT prominently feature giant and/or powerful robots destroying and/or saving the city/world/universe, then you are shamed into committing seppuku.

As usual, I digress. Alhamdulillah, we’re tired, busy, sleep-deprived, overwhelmed with the backlog of work that’s been piling up while I’m “on leave,” but very, very happy. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. 🙂