I’ve got news and you get to decide which category you want to put it in.

See, if you live in Dubai, then you’ll consider that we’re moving to be bad news.  If you live in Dallas though, then you’ll think it’s pretty good news, because that’s where we’re headed InshaAllah.  It is official.  I am trading my yalla for a y’all, and that is news.

I am tentatively excited, reservedly optimistic, and trepidatiously wary of how green the grass on the other side of autism services will or won’t be. We’ve had an equal measure of people telling us that Texas is the worst place for autism services, or the best place for autism services, but it all boils down to this: Texas is a place where autism services in mainstream schools exists, and Dubai is not.

wild wadiSorry Dubai.  I really am.  Sorry for every date palm, every ladies-only beach, every niqab-friendly ice-cream bar, mall prayer room, and halal international chain restaurant I leave behind.  Goodbye five-star hotel buffet dates with husband, hello tuna sandwiches and veggie patties, and packing our own PB&J for the road.

Goodbye beautiful domed masajid on every corner, and the ability to travel without planning the entire day around where one can (and overwhelmingly can’t) do wudu in public and then pray in secret so people don’t freak out and call in the national guard.

Jumeirah_Grand_Mosque-Jumeirah_Mosque-3000000013365-500x375I’m not ‘Murica bashing, I promise.  But there is a certain effortlessness in practicing Islam in a country full of masjids, regardless of whether they stand within a block of a nightclub or not.  I can – and d0! – go everywhere in an abaya and I am appropriately dressed every single time.  At the beach, to a wedding, speaking in a conference or the board room- me and my abayas go everywhere without getting second glances or side-eye.  I will miss that.

Dubai is not perfect.  No place in the world is, but it is comfortable and safe, and for the last ten years it’s been our home.  I was married here.  My children were born here.  My parents and all but one sibling live here.  We have a happy slew of well-loved cousins who will be terribly missed.  I have a circle of friends who feed me, entertain my children and my neurosis while reminding me of Allah every time we meet over coffee, lunch, and more coffee.  It is a beautiful bond, and one not easily replaced.

I started my first company here and found my voice and my professional confidence in a culture where the way I dress has never been an issue.  I have stood side-by-side with women in pencil skirts, stilettos, and fascinators  and not felt any bit of self-consciousness or otherness.

The most fascinating thing about fascinators is that women choose to wear them.  Seriously.
The most fascinating thing about fascinators is that women choose to wear them. Seriously.

Where I once shied away from public scrutiny, I learned here how to stand in the limelight and own it, from the bottom of my sneakers to the top of my sheila.

I will miss Dubai, but I am going to Dallas willingly because somewhere in the great, wide world of IEPs and Special Education services, we’re looking for whatever it is that Khalid needs to grow as a functional, independent little man.  Dallas may not be our place in this world, but we’re going there so Khalid can, InshaAllah, find his.

So swap my basboosa for a brisket and call me Texan.  We’ve got 13 weeks left in the UAE and we’re packing, sorting, and selling off whatever doesn’t fit into our luggage allowance.



Abez is a 50% white, 50% Pakistani, and 100% Muslim. She is also chronically ill and terminally awesome. She is the ever-lovin Momma of: - Khalid, a special little boy with autism - Iman, a special little girl with especially big hair -Musfira, an especially devious baby Spoiler, Abez is also Zeba Khan on

  1. S

    May Allah make your journey easy and your new home full of barakah and good health in sha Allah and provide you with what all you hope for sweet Khalid. Best of luck

  2. Sumaiyah

    I do know you must’ve, but still.. have you considered doing/done Isteqara?
    Now, there surely are chances you’re going to get emotional at times. Think of it this way – Moving away from your loved ones and the li’l world you created for yourself, makes it easier for you to leave behind this duniya. This is my experience speaking (:
    May your fam get all you expect out of Dallas, In sha Allah

  3. Nasreen

    Assalamalaikum! I know it’s never an easy transition to leave a place you’ve called home for so long.

    may you be blessed with an easy transition iA! Dallas has an amazing and diverse Muslim community mA!

    so it will be new and fun beginnings n iA! You’ll always have reasons to visit Dubai since ur family is there.

    may you have a safe and easy journey and may ALLAH s.w.t bless u with khair. Ameen!

  4. Nida

    May you and your family find the light of Eman where ever you live, May He protect you and your family’s faith, give you halal rizq and shifa from all the evil of this world. Dearest dearest sister in Islam may your journey be blessed and beneficial for your akhira.

  5. khansa

    Ameen to your dua Nida! May He make it easy and beneficial for you Zeba and your family, Ameen.

  6. Crayon

    Subhan Allah, what can I say… I’m not there yet but I miss you already!
    May Allah reward you for this my and may he give you a beautiful Muslim community for ‘y’all’ to hang out with, with a few cool sisters and lots of awesome little boys and girls -Ameen
    See you in Texas my sis In Shaa Allah, my thoughts and prayers are with you all x

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: