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Showing posts from July, 2014

Tears after Taraweeh

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As soon as I had turned my face to the left to end my prayer for the final time, I buried my face into my hands, leaned forward and started to cry.

Luckily, this position looked as if I was in a moment of intense prayer, so I don’t think the women around me noticed that I was sobbing. And while I was asking God to make me stronger, I also needed a few moments to let out an immense amount of emotion.

Then I realized that I had to exit the building by walking by a bunch of Uncles, so I dried my tears away with my hijab, sucked in a few deep breaths, packed up my prayer rug and walked out. I used my 12-minute drive to wring out any last remaining tears, and felt much better by the time I arrived home.

The night prayers had started off really well for the first 8 parts. It was when the women shuffled around for the remaining 12 that things went downhill for me.

I have a very specific set up that helps me get through 2 hours of prayers each night. I have a thick blanket under my prayer rug to …

The Crush Conundrum

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He was cute, blond and resembled a slightly chubbier version of a younger Nick Carter. But this guy’s name was Chad. We didn’t attend the same school but would see each other on a weekly basis at the hospital where we both volunteered. Thursdays were the best day of my life. *Sigh*

Yes that’s right, I had a crush in 9th grade and I’m not afraid to admit it. I think I had a crush on him partly because he was the first boy who didn’t mock my hairy arms (see my previous blog post for context) and actually took interest in talking to me like a human being. It was awesome. I didn’t understand why my heart would pound at the thought of Thursday approaching or why my stomach was in knots while I spoke to him, since my puberty talk was 5 minutes and consisted of “this is a pad, let’s not talk about tampons”. But hey, I had made my first male friend (notice I didn’t use the term boy friend, let’s not spread rumours here), and his respectful manners and our polite conversations were great. We …

My “Traumatizing” Childhood

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I think that Muslims, and anyone who grew up not being part of the mainstream population where they lived, make great comedians as adults. Sure, the scenarios us aliens faced as kids may have seemed traumatizing at the time, but in retrospect, I find mine quite funny now...and it seems as though others do as well. Having just finished Zarqa Nawaz’s sort-of-memoir “Laughing All the Way to the Mosque”, I found myself relating to many of her stories, as I am sure many of us can. It then got me thinking about how painful it was to grow up being so different from mainstream society, yet as an adult, that difference is valued, appreciated, and can be something that others want to learn about and laugh along with.

Who knew?

Sifting back through my memories growing up as a South-Asian Muslim girl in the UK and Canada, there are a few themes that really stick out. And so, I thought I’d compile my fondest memories of these vast differences, and how as an adult, I can look back and appreciate h…

Going with the Flow...or Not

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I have a secret to tell.

It’s the grand-daddy of all secrets when it comes to Muslim women during Ramadan. Oh yes fellow sistahs, you know what I’m talking about. You think you can get around people knowing by faking the fast but no, you can’t and you shouldn’t. It’s high time that we educate those around us about the nitty-gritty of fasting permissibility when it comes to women.

And here’s the (not-dirty-at-all) secret...women who are menstruating are excused from fasting. I bet y’all didn’t know that! And it doesn’t surprise me, considering how even within Muslim families, us females are so ashamed of anyone knowing that we can officially take a “break” (missed fasts need to be made up after Ramadan) from fasting, and guilt-free while we’re at it. Allah is ever so Merciful!

There’s a few reasons why I want to blog about this topic. First of all, no one else is or has, that I know of. I haven’t come across any recent non-Fiqh (religious rules, basically) related blog regarding women,…

The Broken Barrier

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I walked into the gym where Taraweeh prayers are held every night and stopped dead in my tracks.

The tarp barrier that normally hung from the ceiling, dividing the men at the front from the women behind them, wasn’t down. In fact, it was way up, as far up as it could be tucked into the ceiling.

Give it time, I thought to myself. Look, there’s a few uncles walking towards the switch. Oh wait, there’s the community centre manager...she’s fiddling with the switch and nothing’s happening...no...it can’t be! 

And then I heard the magic words.

“It’s not working, I’m sorry”

I stifled a smile and set up my prayer rug as some aunties appeared incredibly uncomfortable without their beloved parda (Urdu for “curtain” or barrier in this case). Some aunties turned their hijabs into face veils so the early arriving pre-pubescent boys and older uncles wouldn’t get a glance of their face and fall into sin (sarcasm). Some aunties turned their backs towards the men, so that they were now sitting “back to…

The Prayer Rug

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The lady who prayed beside me yesterday during Taraweeh laid down her gorgeous poppy-red prayer rug. I had never seen anything so vibrant in my life. I turned to her and remarked how gorgeous the colour is (of course, using the term “MashaAllah!” in there!). She told me the story of how her father gave it to her on her wedding day, and how she has passed her own childhood prayer rugs down to her daughters, who were praying beside her. I commented that she must feel incredibly happy every time she prays as the colour of her rug is so vibrant. She smiled and agreed.

I then looked down at my own prayer rug, and it could’t have been more on the opposite side of the spectrum. Brown and beige are the two dominant colours, two colours that I refuse to wear with clothing and two colours that I am not a fan of. Ironically enough, the rug bares the logo for the Islamic School and my mom randomly brought it for me when she met me at Taraweeh on the first night. Ironic indeed and I have no idea …