About Me

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bird by Pablo Neruda

It was passed from one bird to another, 
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute, 
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air-
and there, night came in.

When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography-
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.
-Pablo Neruda

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eid Mubarak

It's eid today, a holiday that comes at the end of a month of fasting. This year the family is together and we are eating and hanging out alot! Eid Mubarak!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ramadan we hardly knew you...making the most of the last days

"30 days of fasting for 14 hours, it's going to be long Ramadan!" And now I'm scrambling to make the most of the last days of the blessed month as it draws to a close. How did the days just fly by? The last ten days are the holiest and blessed days when worshipers keep vigil of the night in supplication and prayer. I've stayed awake one night at the beginning of Ramadan and am looking forward to another community qiyam this weekend. The communal gatherings are wonderful and provide support for continuing striving towards God, however I find worship to be the most powerful when done alone. I'm an introvert and find people around me to be distracting at times. I become conscious of my actions and that's not conducive to reflection and supplication. I have already set goals in increasing my worship even more for the last days.

Qiyam. copyright fana, 2012
The purpose of Ramadan is to be spiritually uplifted and feel peace and closeness with God. To go a little beyond than what is normally done. My goal this Ramadan is to finish reciting the Quran, I'm really excited that I will be able to accomplish this for the first time ever. I am also taking the time to read the meaning and reflect upon the verses of the Qur'an to better connect with the book and take away a lesson. A simple way to make the most of the last days is to increase whatever good you do by just a little more. The extra push helps to be more conscious of our actions which leads to consciousness of God, or taqwa. Giving in charity, helping others, feeding your family and friends, and making extra supplication are all things that will help in reaching that goal. I pray that everyone out there who observes Ramadan makes the most of the last days and reaches their goal!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Making the most of free time in Ramadan

I'm not working full time this year, in fact my part time job has me work at home and occasional meetings around town. This means that I'm home a lot! I'm working on some other projects but my time is very unstructured and relatively unscheduled. I've been praying for and working towards getting a more permanent and full time job. I wish I had a real work schedule with a steady paycheck like everyone else. However with Ramadan in full swing I have started to be more thankful that I am home more and have the time to work around my fasting and prayer schedule. Instead of bemoaning my lack of a proper job, I'm grateful for the time this Ramadan. I can take longer to do my prayer and read more of the Qur'an throughout the day. I can also cook in peace and sit down with my family for dinner without stress and time constraint. Can I get an Alhumdulillah! I'm making the most of my extra time and long days by increasing my worship and reflection. Each year I attempt to recite the entire Qur'an in the month, and each year I fall short of my goal because of work or classes. However this year I think I can reach that goal. I have kept up my recitation and have been able to complete a 1/30th of the Qur'an each day, which will allow me to have it completed in a month. I guess this is my prayers answered from the years before when I prayed that I had more time to worship and reflect. I know for most the long day of fasting coupled with work must be taxing and exhausting. Thank you God for making my work such that I can rest and spend more time in worship and reflection.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Being extra thankful in Ramadan

My grumbling stomachs reminds me that I'm fasting during Ramadan. The fast this year in the long Summer days is harder than last year. At times I complain that I'm so hungry but I know that at the end of the day I will fill my stomach to its limit from a table over flowing with  food. At the end of each day of fasting I bow my head and thank God for the blessed meal and company. This year I am extra thankful and extra blessed. This year I'm with my family, fasting, preparing meals, praying, and eating together. Also this year I have an extra prayer of thanks to God, for giving me my mother.

My parents moved last year in Ramadan and in that same month already full of changes for my mother, she discovered two lumps in her breast. I felt them, "I don't know what this is," she told me. A fear of what it could be crept through me, I prayed that I was wrong. The doctor confirmed my fear. I left my job and city to go be with her through her chemo therapy. In a new town with no friends or familiar surrounding, she needed one of us. I spent the weeks with her, cooking meals that her stomach could handle, massaging her legs and arms when the sharp pain tore through them, letting her cry when all of her hair fell off, and trying to be optimistic for her. Her strong will to make it through her treatment and pain showed me a strength that I have never experienced before. The time I spent with her was a blessing and I thanked God for allowing me to be with her. I prayed that the cancer would go away and that she would make it to the end.

A year later to this Ramadan, she is cancer free. She came back to join us for Ramadan, hugging us all and happy to be back in her city with her children. Her presence in the house brings about the Ramadan spirit. "Do you want chicken biryani?" was the first thing she asked, "Yes!" It's been too long since I've had her chicken biryani. Her hair is growing back, right now it's a short stylish look. "You look younger with this style" we all tell her. She smiles pulling her finger through the strands. We all sit down to eat her biryani, the smell intoxicating us. I bow my head and say a prayer of thanks, a real deep thanks for everything at the table. My hunger is forgotten, all I care is that my mom is back sitting next to me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"The month of Ramadan is to keep silent about hatred and anger and to say, to repeat and to whisper the words of love, tenderness and affection."
                       -Tariq Ramadan