#AtoZChallenge Day 13: Misidentification

M is for Misidentification

M

I used to work in a nursing home. One of the residents there talked about coping with the death of two of her cousins. They were in Israel, and according to her, they were killed “by some Arabs.”

Then she turned to me and said, “I know you’re Muslim, so I mean no disrespect.”

Um.

 

Okay.

First, “Muslim” does not equal “Arab”.

Second, even if I was Arab, I am still in no way sympathetic toward the people who killed your cousins.

Obviously, that’s not what I said. I didn’t say anything because the incident simply left me speechless.

She is one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met. She had dementia, and so I could never take personally any of the negatives she had to say because I had to reintroduce who I was to her every single day. On the days that she wasn’t refusing to associate with me because I was Muslim, she would tell me how beautiful she thought my scarf was or what a lovely girl I was for pushing her wheelchair to wherever she needed to go. She would point out to me all of her favorite staff members in the facility and ask each of them how their kids were doing as she did so. She encouraged her fellow residents to stay cheerful and hopeful, even when she had no clue how they got to be her neighbors.

It wasn’t her. It was the idea she had been primed with before her disease took away her ability to remember her context.

I wore a scarf on my head. And so she identified me as a potential sympathizer to the killers of her relatives.

 

Ramadan Log DAY 15: Aching for My Fellow Humans

I probably shouldn’t have watched one of those videos of Palestine before writing this because now I’m just sad and depressed. May God please end the suffering there and bring justice to the people. May he keep us all safe from oppression. May he protect us from ever becoming oppressors. Ameen.

Hearing stories of people under oppression, whether it be in Palestine or North Korea or certain areas in Africa, I realize how much I have that I just take for granted: the safety to walk from the bus stop to my house, being able to trust (for the most part) that policemen are here to protect me and not hurt me or use me, not even knowing what it’s like to have my country “under attack” because the last time anything close to that happened, I was too young to be able to grasp what was going on.

It makes me sick to my stomach when I think about how my government has sworn to ensure that we American citizens never have to experience war right outside our own homes, yet they fund the same attack on other innocent people. I will always be an American at heart, but it hurts to wonder what other people think of us right now. I am so unbelievably thankful to have been born and raised in this country, and to live here right now in a safe neighborhood, but at the same time, I’m wondering what I ever did to deserve any of this blessing.

Even my section of Muhammad was sad today. The Muslims fought the Battle of Badr and won, which in theory is nice, except the following chapters highlighted the people who had died in battle. The real sad moment for me, however, was the death of Ruqayyah. No, she didn’t die in battle. Remember my quote yesterday, when Muhammad (S) had to leave her while she was sick to go to battle? Imagine going through that and then coming back to find your daughter has died while you were away. As the Muslims were returning from their victory at Badr, “Zayd and `Abd Allah ibn Rawahah had reached Medina and there was great rejoicing amongst all except the Jews and the hypocrites. But Zayd was given sad news in exchange for his good news: Ruqayyah was dead; `Uthman and Usamah had just returned from burying her” (Lings 152). I literally gasped in shock and just stared at the page in sad disbelief when I read those words.

How many of you knew as I was writing about how much I loved her yesterday that I would read about her death today?

On top of that, soon afterwards when another of Muhammad’s (S) daughters, Zaynab, was finally migrating to Medina from Mecca, and she was pregnant with her third child (after her second had died), she was attacked by surprise from the some people of the Quraysh still angry about the Badr loss. The fright caused her to later have a miscarriage. 😦

This is going to be a really strange analogy, but you Harry Potter fans will understand: After reading about Ruqayyah’s death and Zaynab’s miscarriage, I felt the same sadness as when I read (SPOILER) Dobby’s death in Deathly Hallows. They were just so nice to read about and then they are suddenly gone.

I never expected to become so attached the people in this book, but alhamdulillah, reading their stories has really made me love the Prophet (S) and his family and companions.

Gosh, this post was so negative. I’m sorry. Tomorrow is a new day, inshaAllah.

*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*

Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken), Dill Rice, Spaghetti, and Salad. I'm forever grateful to the generous people of my Sunday class.

Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken), Dill Rice, Spaghetti, and Salad. I’m forever grateful to the generous people of my Sunday class for providing such good food.

Red Velvet Cupcake, Fruit Tart, Brownie, and Chai (Indian Tea)

Red Velvet Cupcake, Fruit Tart, Brownie, and Chai (Indian Tea)

I really hope none of you are reading my blog as an example of healthy eating. Please don’t. I’m so unhealthy; it’s not funny. I just like taking pictures, and nothing looks nicer while fasting than food.

Ramadan Log DAY 6: Fireworks

Happy Independence Day!

This is the first time I have ever fasted on the 4th of July. All day I was having nostalgia of going to 4th of July barbeques and seeing the fireworks display with my cousins. As I get older and older, I think I’m over fireworks, but every year I go see them anyway and still get that same rush of awe and excitement when I see the colors in the sky.

This year however, while I heard my neighbors lighting fireworks and firecrackers all day in their backyards, I couldn’t help but have some really chilling thoughts. Lately we have been bombarded with story after story of people in the Middle East, particularly Palestine and Israel, being attacked and killed. Today as I heard the commotion going on outside my house, I couldn’t help but feel for the people around the world who hear those same sounds, only they come from bombs and gunshots. With every crack and boom, my heart broke for the kids who hear these sounds daily, and think of fear rather than celebration.

This made me think of a song I heard years ago by Kareem Salama, called Prayers at Night.

When I was young on the Fourth of July
I’d go outside and watch the show in the sky
But little Fatima in Lebanon this July
Went outside and watched the fire chase her life
I’d laugh and play and make my parents smile
And she’d run for her life, that poor little child
So what do I do with these fond memories
When I wake up from nightmares and she lives bad dreams?

The lyrics are just heartbreaking, because what he sings about is such a true reality today. While we in America look forward to that one day a year where we watch a show of colorful explosions in the sky, kids exactly our age see these same images, but are filled with terror.

Now I don’t usually post my opinions related to things going on in the Middle East, mainly because I try to stay away from negativity on my social media sites. I particularly stay away from the Palestine/Israel conflict because I feel like no matter what I say, the only thing people will think of me is that “She’s obviously on Palestine’s side because she is Muslim.”

Let me make something clear. I couldn’t care less what religion the people in that area follow. Whether they are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Atheist, when innocent people, children, are being killed, I sympathize with them and I pray for them.

All day today I was praying for my fellow humans around the world, who on a daily basis face their life being threatened by bombs, gun violence, murderers on the streets, or political persecution. May God protect these people and stop the senseless violence. Ameen.


On a happier note, I’m getting pretty far in the Qur’an! I am in the middle of the 9th juz, almost finished with Surat Al-A’raaf (Chapter 7, “The Heights”).

I am also loving the Martin Lings book. Today I read the story of the marriage of Prophet Muhammad’s (S) parents! I learned for the first time that it was actually a double wedding, of the Prophet’s (S) parents and Abd Al-Muttalib to another one of his wives. Lings describes it as a very festive and exciting day, which I can imagine it was.

The quote I want to share today is from a description Lings gives of the life of the Arab nomads at the beginning of one of the chapters. It is really poetic.

Nobility and freedom were inseparable and the nomad was free. In the desert a man was conscious of being the lord of space, and in virtue of that lordship he escaped in a sense from the domination of time. By striking camp he sloughed off his yesterdays; and tomorrow seemed less of a fatality if its where as well as its when had yet to come. But the townsman was prisoner; and to be fixed in one place, – yesterday, today, tomorrow – was to be a target for time, the ruiner of all things.

(Lings 23)

This could totally relate to how things are today. I’ve heard this before in my psychology classes, but humans, particularly here in the U.S., are slaves to time. But by living in the style of a nomad, we may be bound to nothing. I’m not saying everyone should go become a nomad, but it’s just something interesting to think about.

I love finding paradoxes like this.

So…funny thing about iftar. I don’t have a picture of the day for you. We just quickly broke out fasts and then went to watch the fireworks, so I didn’t really eat dinner. Hopefully that won’t affect me tomorrow. InshaAllah. (By the will of God)