July 20, 2014

Ramadan Reflections

Salaam - peace to all ! 

I have been absent from this blog for some time. It's not that I have abandoned my beloved project, but alas I have been subsumed by the vicissitudes of life (or at least that's one way to put it!) 

The month of Ramadan has also descended upon us, when Muslims the globe over empty their digestive cups and attempt fill their spiritual cups to the brim with good deeds and acts of worship to Allah Almighty. 

In all honesty, I have not found the spiritual quietude that I so desperately needed in this holy month. No doubt my spirit has been troubled by the events in the Middle East - the merciless bombardment of Gaza, sectarian violence in Iraq, the protracted war in Syria - not to mention the ongoing crises in Central African Republic, The Congo, Nigeria and the list goes on! 

It appears that the world has lost its last vestige of sanity. For the past few weeks I have been overwhelmed with grief - I cannot bear to read the international headlines, let alone the local news with the numerous reports of violent crime and gang warfare. I try to stay positive, pray fervently for the release of the oppressed, yet I cannot seem to shake that niggling sense of helplessness and despair. 

May 11, 2014

Mother of all trades

I have been immensely blessed in the "mother department". No, she is not a perfect individual - she has flaws and shortcomings like everyone else. But she has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. She has been there, rain or shine, always willing to lend a sympathetic shoulder or a helping hand. 

May 08, 2014

Rumi Reflections: Allah

I tried to find Him on the Christian cross, but He
was not there; I went to the Temple of the
Hindus and to the old pagodas, but I could not
find a trace of Him anywhere.

I searched on the mountains and in the valleys
but neither in the heights nor in the depths was I
able to find Him. I went to the Ka'bah in Mecca,
but He was not there either. 

I questioned the scholars and philosophers but
He was beyond their understanding. 

I then looked into my heart and it was there
where He dwelled that I saw Him; He was
nowhere else to be found.

- Jalaluddin Rumi 

May 05, 2014

Days of Hope

As a Muslim, I have been brought up to believe in the Day of Judgement and in the afterlife. I remember the Qur'an tapes my mama would play on her cassette recorder every night before we went to bed - I would shiver at the English translations of the Qur'anic verses that warned of severe punishment for those unfortunate souls in the Hell Fire. I remember how worried I would be about getting into Heaven, and my nightly prayer would be for God to grant me a free pass. 

Those nights of hope and fear are now a distant childhood memory. It's not everyday that I ponder on the afterlife. And on the occasions that I do, it doesn't linger on my mind for too long. I have become so consumed by the business of living that I rarely consider how short-lived that business is. It hardly ever occurs to me that my life is but a flickering light, soon to be extinguished by the draft of death.

April 21, 2014

The Church on the Hill

I love writing about personal, spiritually transformative experiences - those Eureka moments when I insert another piece into the vast puzzle that is life. I recently wrote about one such experience on SuhaibWebb.Com entitled The Church on the Hill. An excerpt from the piece is below: 

"My semester abroad forced me out of the Muslim comfort zone I had carefully cultivated at Cambridge. I was on a European voluntary programme in a village in southern France, with neither a mosque nor Muslim in sight. I must admit I had my reservations about coming to France. The hijab had been banned in public schools a few years prior and I had an irrational fear of my hijab being ripped off of my head."

You can read the full  piece here.

April 17, 2014

Bonjour, Monsieur Cesaire


Six years ago today, Aimé Césaire passed away. I was saddened by his passing for two reasons: firstly, I had just completed my dissertation on French Caribbean and African literature, through which I learned of his significant contribution to the anti-colonial struggle and to the intellectual and literary heritage of the Caribbean. Secondly, I had met him in person a few years prior.

March 22, 2014

Muslims in TV Land

When I first read the synopsis for the teen drama Alice in Arabia, which was widely circulated on social media, I, like fellow blogger Aisha Saeed, thought it was a joke. Alice in Arabia was described as a "high-stakes drama about a rebellious American teenage girl, who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian". It goes on to state that Alice must "count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.”