Parental leave (or why I haven’t posted in 3 months)

Baby bottle

I don’t have much time to write this.

I’m sitting here on my computer in silence. But I know that any minute now, I could be whisked away by the cries of my 2-month-old daughter, Ayana. I’m on parental leave, and let me tell you, it’s given me a whole new respect for the word “parent”. Continue reading “Parental leave (or why I haven’t posted in 3 months)”

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Ramadan reflections

Ramadan-Moon

The first time I fasted I was 18. I remember the splitting headache more than anything—always the headaches. Hunger I can manage, but the headaches are the ones that knock me down. I remember rushing home and preparing a massive dinner of Kraft Dinner, sandwiches, and a bevy of other dishes. And then, much to my surprise, I was barely able to stomach it. I was shocked to find that my stomach had shrunk its capacity during my fast.

From then on I was a bit more conservative with my iftar dinner. Continue reading “Ramadan reflections”

The Muslim Musical Metronome: My Journey Through Music in Islam

musical-notes

A few weeks ago, the internet experienced a minor rumble about a story regarding a supposed fatwa issued by 42 clerics against Indian singer Nahid Afrin. International media caught wind and it became a story about religious clergy banning someone’s freedom of expression. As is the case with such a story, the world got riled up.

Of course, now there’s some speculation if the “fatwa” was even a fatwa at all, or rather just an appeal made by citizens concerned with hosting a concert at a college.

Now, I’m not here to comment on the story or vilify or condemn one party over the other. Instead, I’m using this story as a launching point for my own personal story about my relationship with music. Continue reading “The Muslim Musical Metronome: My Journey Through Music in Islam”

Love Notes P2: Lessons about Love from the Sunnah

hearts2

I hate to break it to you, but Jerry Maguire’s famous, “You complete me” line is pure pop culture crack.

Why do I say this? Well, it’s because many people have this conception that they’re waiting for their “soul mate”, their knight or princess that will somehow fix their broken heart and complete them.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) famously said, “Marriage is half your deen.” Here’s what this doesn’t mean:

  • your deen is only half complete before you are married
  • you are only half a person and need someone else to “complete” you

You need to be a complete person in and of yourself before you get married. You can’t expect someone to come into your life and fill in the missing gaps of your character and religion. Continue reading “Love Notes P2: Lessons about Love from the Sunnah”

Love Notes P1: Lessons about Love from the Qur’an

A cluster of hand-drawn red hearts

February is marked as the month of love, with Valentine’s Day falling right in the middle of it. It’s also the month of confusion, as it’s the only month in the Gregorian calendar that has 28 days with a leap year every 4 years. Fittingly, both traits complement each other nicely. Continue reading “Love Notes P1: Lessons about Love from the Qur’an”

“Keep God in mind and you will find Him in front of you…”

“Keep God in mind and you will find Him in front of you. Get acquainted with God in times of ease and He will know you in days of distress. Know that what missed you could not have hit you, and what hit you could not have missed you. Know that victory comes with patience, relief follows distress, ease follows hardship.”

anxiety

Anxiety and worry are two constants in my life. I’ve always found myself worrying about one thing or another. Whether it’s cosmological destruction or the very minute and personal fear of losing the people closest to you, it’s something that has always followed me. As I grew up I had outlets to manage my anxiety, like writing and video games. Escaping into a fictional world—or coming up with my own—even for just an hour or so was enough to pull my mind away from my anxious thoughts. Continue reading ““Keep God in mind and you will find Him in front of you…””

Hajj: One Year Later

Kaba at day

Hajj is often touted as a life changing journey. It marks the final act a Muslim must fulfil that is owed to God. Completing it by no means makes you a complete Muslim. But it does complete the 5 pillars you owe to God as a person who submits to Him.

A year ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to go for Hajj. During my time, I documented my experiences in my Hajj Journal; I’ve also spoken about it on the radio. Hajj was a journey that is impossible to fully describe. It’s an all-encompassing spiritual and physical and mental journey where each event that occurs is tailored to you, personally, by God.

What terrified me most about Hajj was the notion that it was going to change me into a different person. Change, in general, is frightening. Spiritual change is terrifying. My fear was that I would become a super-strict, ultra-hardline, everything-is-haram Muslim. I remember standing on the roof of our hotel on the eve of Hajj with both fear and excitement, wondering who I would be at the end of Hajj.

Well, it’s been a year now. And here is who I am. Continue reading “Hajj: One Year Later”

Why I’m Not Playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go logo
The Inquirer

As a kid, I wanted to be the very best — like no one ever was. Catching them was my real test. Training them was my cause. However, I could not travel across the land, searching far and wide, because my Pokemon adventures were confined to the old cabbage-green screen of the Gameboy.

When I wasn’t engaged in my digital adventure to be the greatest Pokemon master, I was absorbed in the toys, cards, cartoon, movies and writing terrible fan fiction. (“They sneeked sighlently passed scientists” is still the greatest worst sentence I’ve ever written). Pokemon was the defining craze of my generation and I soaked it up. I caught all 151 original Pokemon, got opening-night tickets to the movies (which I and my friends saw multiple times to get the promo trading cards), surfed the internet as it speculated new Pokemon (remember Pikablu?), built decks and battled with the trading card game, read the manga, bought the toys, and oh the stories of heartbreak and triumph I could tell in my quest as a Pokemon trainer, collector and fan. Maybe I’ll share some another time.

Now this Pokemon trainer is all grown up (physically, anyway) and now his dream of seeing Pokemon in real life has now come true. Sort of.

Pokemon Go, at this point, probably doesn’t need an introduction. It’s a mobile augmented reality game where players go out into the real world to track, catch and train Pokemon. It’s practically tailored to my generation.

That’s probably why it’s so surprising that I’m not playing it. Continue reading “Why I’m Not Playing Pokemon Go”

Biking Without Pedals: Memories of John and ALS

A man sitting on the beach with a large, black and brown dog.
(CBC, Facebook)

It’s ironic to consider that I work for the provincial government—an organization well known for its love of acronyms—and yet the one acronym that impacted my life the most was one that I was uninformed of: ALS.

When I started working for the government, my co-worker, John, was working with me. When he spoke, it was very slow with a low, almost monotone sound. My first impression was that he must have had a stroke at some point, which can affect one’s speech patterns. It turns out it was a different beast altogether: ALS. Continue reading “Biking Without Pedals: Memories of John and ALS”