Thursday, August 27, 2009

Taraweh Prayers

This will be short and sweet. I was ruminating on how some people act when they are at the mosque. To me, a mosque is a place of worship and not a daycare center. If you are a mother and your child is fussy or needs constant attention, I don't think it is fair for you to bring it to the mosque where your attention should be on worship. I like kids but I do think that it is intolerable to have six/seven children do nothing but fuss/walk around/play in front of you when you are praying and listening to Khutbah. I have the same problem during Juma prayers but it is significantly worse when its day in and out. I specifically cherish my Taraweh prayers and don't want to leave the masjid feeling like my attention was elsewhere the whole entire time.

Please leave your children at home or if you can't just stay home with them. It is after all Sunnah.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ramadhan Kareem

Its our version of new year. What is your resolution this year?

Mine is to find inner peace. My history is littered with people who have used and abused me and my nature. I have always said in my mind that they are forgiven and that I harbor no ill feelings towards it. I now realize that was all a facade. Deep down I loathe these people and wish them nothing but evil things. So this Ramadhan, I will attempt to really try to forgive these people.

There is a hadith about two brothers in Islam standing in front of God during the day of judgement. One is the oppressor and the other is the oppressee (not a word but you catch my drift). The oppressed brother asks God to take all the good deeds from the oppressor and give them to him. God did this. Then the oppressed brother asks God to take all his bad deeds and give them to the oppressor. God instead gives him a glimpse of Heaven. There is a big beautiful house in his line of vision and the brother asks God if the house belongs to a prophet? shahid? most righteous? sahaba? God says no that is your house if you forgive your brother for his deeds. The brother forgave his oppressor.

I have to attempt to forgive and it is difficult because I hold all the things that hurt me deep within. I don't let anyone know about it and the times when I do let it out via tears I hide in my room when the whole house is asleep. It is only in forgiving others that I can face Allah and ask for forgiveness.

When asking Allah for forgiveness it has to come from the bottom of your heart. You should liken the feeling to drowning. Imagine yourself lost in sea with only a plank of wood keeping you afloat. Then your plank breaks apart and you start drowning. As you head dips under you move your legs and come up gasping for air, then you go right back down. This is repeated several times till your energy is spent and you finally accept your fate. As the light on the surface of the water slowly dims you find that little reserve of energy to get back to the surface and take a gulp of air. You should ask God for forgiveness as if its that last bit of air before you drown. It should come from some primal level of survival, and it is in this moment that some people shed tears.

I wish you all a wonderful Ramadhan and good luck with your resolutions.

Image source

Friday, August 21, 2009

Apology to My Unborn-Bassey Ikpi

I fear that you will never sleep
that like these fingers long and too thin
to hold rings or commitments
you will inherit your mother’s insomnia
your father's restless spirit

Child, I wish I could quiet all your questions
tell you the exact number of stars in the sky
Wish I could show you where the moon goes at sunrise
I want to give you one morning worth rising for
I pray that you will close your eyes
see the world through the only thing
I have fit to pass down to you
this heart of a dreamer

But I want you stronger sooner
want you kind and brave
want you unafraid to fight
for what you believe and need
want you beautiful and free
want you nothing like your mother
this girl trembling before each new day
this girl frightened of herself

love this girl who finds the word ‘woman’
a cloak too heavy to don most days
you deserve someone who wears the moniker like banner
carries easy like sun in summer
but, child, what can I tell you of peace
when you were probably conceived in a cacophony of questions

Still, I think of you as possible
can feel the breath of God light against your skin
can hear you, softness, eyes closed laughing
real as the beating staccato against my chest

I wish that we are not too much like shadow and brick
voices thrown against walls
these hands are tired of building

I want you to like me
To know me
To know me now
In moments like this
your mother lays awake
watching, yet, another morning from the wrong side
practicing slow this breathing that will one day usher you into this world

I still fear that you will never know sleep
but I know that I need your laughter
need the gentle curve of your fingers
need your eyes locked on mine
need you here,
for balance

I still think you deserve more than
this threat of me as your mother
still attempting her own world of colored things
but child, just promise me that you will be, eventually
I need your possibility
like I need a night worth sleeping for

Image source

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The end

Muna drummed her fingers to Drake's new song as she skirted Shoreview. She was feeling good after watching a movie with a friend and spending some quality time. Her feet weren't as sore any more and neither was her back. She stretched her right foot tentatively to reach the brake pedals and a pain shot through her leg. Muna cursed loudly and adjusted her seat to prevent any more pain. Another shot of pain went through her body and this time it wasn't in her foot. Muna grabbed at her chest. It felt like needles piercing her veins. She removed her foot from the gas pedal and breathed deeply. One breath.....two breath......she slowly felt the band easing on her chest.

As she relaxed, she eased her foot back on the gas pedal. Her right eye suddenly went dark. Muna's instinct told her to pull over but she again breathed. One breath.........two breath............three breath.........four breath. Still her right eye remained sightless. Muna knew it would be another 5 minutes before she could pull into her garage. Her mind started sprinting ahead of her thoughts. Hospital......ER........pull faster..............pull to the ER.

Her breath was coming in gasps. She couldn't draw in any air no matter how wide she opened her mouth. The world was losing color and her partial vision narrowed. It was nearly over. "Did I pray today?" No. Did I read the Quran? No. God let me live and I will be the most devout believer there ever was. Muna was wheezing now as her bronchioles constricted. I love life. I have much to do. Not now. Muna grabbed at her shirt collar. She could feel her grip on the world loosening. The car was banking to the right and she barely had any strength left in her body.

Muna in her purple dress with a doll standing in front of a house. Beep! Muna crying on the phone with her sister before flying to USA. Screech! Muna kissing her grandma's forehead before the kafan covered her forever. Crash! Muna in a kafan in the earth.Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Muna in complete darkness awaiting.

There is a war going on outside,
no man is safe from,
you can run
but you can't hide forever
from me
-Mobb Deep

Monday, August 17, 2009

Jawaahir Dance

Last night I went with my friend to watch the Jawaahir dance group perform at the Southern theatre by Seven Corners in Minneapolis. There were some parts of the performance that I didn't quiet enjoy but for the most part it was very well done. There was a live band playing and I loved loved the oud player. I swear I was in tears when he was singing. The other song wasn't bad either and off course the tabla solo was excellent. One of the violin players looked familiar, till I realized he is a presenter on public access TV.

Cassandra has a very subtle dance style and unless you realize that, you are likely to discount her as not so good. I loved her performance especially the arm and finger movements. They were mesmerizing. The show is still going on till the end of this week and on Wednesday its pay as you are able. It is very informal because you can meet the dancers at the end of the perfomance and talk with the them.

Its been a while since I danced to arabic tunes and watching the show made me hunger for it. So, my friend and I are going to attend a belly dancing class just for kicks. I am pretty sure I can still learn a few things especially the figure eight shake. So for all you MPLS guys, check out the show and hope you like the music as much as I did.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mother Nature is the best teacher

There is a new science in town and its known as Biomimicry. It is the science of emulating nature to create human technology that is cost effective and in tune with leaving mutualistically with the rest of the living organisms on earth. Humans are the biggest consumers on earth and to add insult to injury we are wasteful. To minimize our impact on earth some scientist/technologist have taken it upon themselves to study nature and model solutions to human problems from these studies.

Nature is very resourceful and never wasteful. Take for example the lotus never gets dirty even though it grows in swampy areas. Why is that? Most people think its because it is smooth but in reality the lotus leaves have bumps on them that resemble a mountainscape. Therefore when dirt particle rests on the leaves they teether on these bumps, and when it rains the drops of water are able to cart them off the leaves as a rolling snow balls would pick up leaves. Thusly paints companies are trying to mimic this effect and some have accomplished them.

So next time you are outside, study nature. You might just find the solution to drought or famine in the microscopic/macroscopic world of mother nature.

Image source

Friday, August 14, 2009


For the first time in months I awoke without feeling lethargic. I hope this is the start of many days like this. I was actually contempleting going to an accupuncturist and having my Chi analyzed. I still might but for now I want to relish the feeling of energy coursing through my veins. Have a wonderful Friday folks. One more week to Ramadhan!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ever think about crows?

They are those pesky birds that are forever cawing at someone. They leave their poop all over your car just after you have washed it. They are mostly disliked till Joshua Klein came up with this genius idea of building a vending machine that is mutually beneficial to both our species (crows and humans).

During his talk Joshua Klein mentions a University of Washington study on crows. So I proceeded to look this up even though I distinctly remember listening to a show on NPR about crows. Professor Marzluff asked his students to wear a caveman mask whenever they tagged the crows. Why would he do that you ask? Well, because once, when someone was trying to get rid of a crow near their home they were forever cawed by the crows in the neighborhood and pretty soon it caught on and even crows that weren't in the neighborhood recognized him. So Marzluff performed the experiment and proved that crows recognized the caveman mask even when it was upside down.

So next time you think about killing a crow think about this two distinct stories about crows.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

He gets sworn in today

Ahmedinejad gets sworn in today as president elect of Iran. Its a sad day and I hope that by some miracle or rather he doesn't fulfill his oath. By the by, seem like US is ok with working with him, after calling him the elected president of Iran when they can tell that he stole the election. I am disappointed in Obama from not taking a stance against Ahmedinejad's presidency.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Evo Morales

Gotta give it up for Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia. He has given the right to vote for self governance to Bolivia indigent population. Whether this will pass and be implemented is yet to be seen. The vote will take place in December amid the elections. The Bolivian elite is not happy to say the least but I think it is high time for the colonialist to restore some power equilibrium to natives of the land. These poor people have been under the thumb of Spanish settlers for years and I wonder if the vote for power of autonomy, what will they accomplish?

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Recently I have taken to tearing up whenever I hear any news of Iran. I am not sure why I feel such empathy for them. Puzzled at my excessive show of emotion, I have taken to avoiding any posts about them or any radio chatter. I am distraught at how no one is bothered with these courageous people. These people who have had a civilization since the era of King Darius (c. 500 BC). They are survivors and in my book stand up for their ideals. They have gone through much with the Shah's coup, Islamic revolution and now Ahmedinajad.

To see the pictures of the young people gathering together to show their contempt at the obvious tamperings of the election results. Hearing stories of brave youth who despite their parents pleas go out and face the Basij day in and out. I find myself asking what then of our youth? Why are we so quick to turn our backs to the horrors committed in Somalia? Do we not have the same blood coursing through our veins? Do we not empathize with the lost souls who are forever left in that desolate country?

I feel that if we want to have a viable country with a functioning government (of the people) then perhaps we should be willing to stand up for those ideals. Not via monetary means or by sitting together and having a hypothetical conversation about it but by taking the bull by the neck and wringing it. It took centuries for democracy to take root in the west. We can't expect it to occur immediately. It is a process albeit a long one but it is one that we should commit to and hopefully our children's children will live to see it. Just like the Iranians are committed to it and are not giving up on it even in the face of death/torture/life imprisonment.