COVID-19, Pandemics and Islam

CDC-coronavirus-image-23311-for-web

I remember the first time I heard the word “pandemic”. When I was in high school, my biology teacher told us that we were overdue for a pandemic. He explained that throughout human history, large-scale diseases come and go in cycles. The last one was the Spanish Flu, and that was almost one hundred years ago. Since then, I lived through the SARS and Swine Flu (H1N1) scares, both of which came and went with little impact on my comfortable personal life in Alberta, Canada.

And here we are.

Every day there is new information about the coronavirus, known as COVID-19. Its spread has been incredibly fast. Of course it worries me. From toilet paper shortages, to self-quarantining, to overzealous YouTube preppers spreading doomsday warnings, and airlines shutting down travel, this virus has impacted almost every aspect of my personal life. But in times like this, I find comfort in my faith. Continue reading “COVID-19, Pandemics and Islam”

Part of Me: “Celeste” and Facing Mental Illness

Spoilers for Celeste below

Celeste1

Muhammad Ali once said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

The game Celeste, is filled with these pebbles: a mis-timed jump, a boost used too early, a ledge you held onto for too long until Madeline, the game’s protagonist, falls to her doom. She hits the spikes—boom—and you start over try again. And again. And again.

Obviously, in real life a fall into a spike pit is a bit more permanent. But that feeling of trying to cross an impossible gap or climb an impossible mountain is all to familiar to people who live with mental illness. It’s very fitting, then, that Celeste is a game about climbing that mountain, and despite all the slips and missteps and mistakes, picking yourself up and trying again. More than that, however, is that Celeste is about accepting parts of yourself that may seem negative, rather than fighting them. Continue reading “Part of Me: “Celeste” and Facing Mental Illness”

Lessons from Link

Several depictions of Link in various Zelda games

A while back I did an article called “Lessons from Luigi” where I examined some of the traits of my favourite Mario-universe character, the green-capped scaredy-cat Luigi. This time around, I’m shifting to Nintendo’s second most popular franchise, the Legend of Zelda.

Despite a shared love for the colour green, Link is almost the polar opposite of Luigi. He’s a hero who is often thrust into adventures without a second thought (not that he would complain much about it anyway, given his vocabulary consists of shouts and grunts). And just like Luigi, there’s a lot we can learn from this fictional hero that we can implement in our own lives. Continue reading “Lessons from Link”

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)”

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…””