Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Best Reminder

We're in TO for the week, visiting with M's family, and we spent the weekend at the RIS conference, listening to a lot of great speakers talk about the importance of contribution and involvement, how being a Muslim is all about giving and serving. We heard a lot of great things, but one of best reminders I heard was the mention of this hadeeth (prophetic saying). So simple and succinct, but so clear in its message.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, will say on the Day of Rising, 'Child of Adam, I was ill and you did not visit Me.'

The man will say, 'O Lord, how could I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?'

The Lord will answer, 'Do you not know that My servant so-and-so was ill and you did not visit him? Do you not know that if you had visited him, you would have found Me with him?

O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you did not feed Me.'

The man will answer, 'O Lord, how could I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds?'

The Lord will say, 'Do you not know that My servant so-and-so asked you for food and you did not feed him? Do you not know that if you had fed him, you would have found him with Me.

O son of Adam, I asked you for water and you did not give it to Me.'

He will say, 'O Lord, how could I give You water when You are the Lord of the worlds?'

The Lord will say, 'My servant so-and-so asked you for water and you did not give it to him. Do you not know that if you had given him water, you would have found that with Me?'

So often, we make religion so complicated that we forget the essence. Visit the sick, feed the poor, care for those who need to be cared for. This we can do. This we should do.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My older sister is on a trip to Egypt right now, visiting extended family. Below are her thoughts on Gaza and the atrocities taking place.

I can't tear myself away from the T.V. screen. News clips of people, normal people, desparate people, devastated people.

Mothers crying. People bleeding. Body parts. Running, running. Men grabbing people off the streets & rushing to the ambulances, and bringing more and more people. The news reporter tells me that there's no more room in the hospital for any more people.

Little Bodies wrapped in white cloth. A father breaks down crying next to the body of his dead child. I think of my own children, in bed asleep. Thank God. I should go in. I should sleep. I got up early . . . I wonder how long they've been up. I wonder if they will sleep tonight. If they will wake up tomorrow.

A mother is talking, her face is wet and tired. Her eyes are puffy. "They took away my children. This morning. I have 3 daughters and one son left. They took my 5 daughters this morning." Her daughter talks about this morning. She was telling her sisters "we're all going to die."

Five daughters. Five sisters. Five. Who will they mourn? How will they mourn? When will they mourn? They have to keep runningfrom the soulless, pilotless planes dropping randon bombs. But where to? Where do they run to?
"There's no safe place in Gaza, we've been told," an aid worker said.

I grab the remote. I want to see the coverage people are getting in Canada and the States. Is it like this? Do they see the suffering? Or is it watered-down, political collateral damage?

I'm searching for CNN. Finally, I find it. They're talking about Gaza, about the air-strikes. They're being sympathetic with the Palestinian people. They talk to an Islamic Aid Worker who's barricaded into his house. At first, I feel relief - 'they're acknowledging them - these poor forgotten people who's humanity is so rarely portrayed. But wait, I watch longer. No, no. They're rolling the same 5 clips over and over again while they talk about the attrocities: a burning building, people standing and shuffling in the street, ambulance workers gathered around somethng, a clip of the hospitals, people in the street. Again and again. No close-ups of people. No sadness, no tears, no children, no breakdowns. The rubble and the destruction of buildings, of overcrowded hospitals. Where are the pictures that I saw on the Arabic channels? What about the mother who lost her children? What about the little boy crying & trying to run? The look in their eyes? The fear? The loss?

"93 % of communication is non-verbal," I remember from my university days in psychology. Only 7% is the words that we hear.

I flip back to the Arabic channel. They are human beings and I must see their humanity. I don't know, after what I've seen today, how I'll sleep tonight. No. I know, deep down, that even if I stir for an hour or two, eventually, in the safety of my home, and the warmth of my blanket, and the company of my children, sleep will come.

How will they sleep, without safety, without shelter, without having had dinner, without knowing wen the next bomb will drop, without her daughters, without her husband, without his baby, without their their father? After they have seen today, how will they ever sleep?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Love My Gloves! I Hate My Gloves! I'm Confused!

So, random thing I did this morning while heading out for work - pre-drinking my coffee, so that's my excuse for why I was so low on brain-power:
I was leaving the apartment, and in one hand I was holding my pretty, fairly new leather gloves. In the other, I was holding a plastic bag from the kitchen garbage that needed to go down the garbage chute. I pressed the elevator button and walked to the chute. Then, I opened the chute, and tossed my gloves out -- Wait, what???
Yup, that's right, I through my gloves down the garbage chute instead of the garbage I had meant to throw out...
Luckily, I went back this afternoon to the store and they had another pair.
I think I need to sleep...
For those of you Christmas-ing, have a merry one. For everyone else, enjoy your inherent days off... I know I will :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Mom Song

This is for all the moms. Enjoy. I totally cracked up.

The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Un-Random Acts of Kindness

This was a really neat article I just read about how practicing random acts of kindness, and how it actually raises suspicion, while practicing "non-random" acts of kindness actually achieves a lot more... Not sure that I actually disagree with the "random" random act of kindness, but the overall message is a good one. Take a look here. Nice reminder to be kind in general, and I think it makes the good point of putting your real time and energy into acts that really have a lasting effect.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Juliette et "Wow"! (or 'Must Love Chocolate')

Coming to Montreal soon? Want somewhere to majorly overindulge your chocolate addiction? I've got just the place for you: Juliette et Chocolat on St. Denis. As good as advertised (and I don't get paid for this, swear...)

'nuff said..

Eid Mubarak!

It's 20 below today in Montreal, for the first day of Eid Ul-Adha (makes me think of a Christmas song that starts with "Oh the weather outside is frightful...").
On this Eid, my sisters are
a) here with me in Montreal enduring the same temperatures,
b) in sunny California with my parents, or
c) in Egypt, praying the congregational Eid prayer in an outdoor field along with most of her husband's family's town.

We've been on an email streak for a couple of days, the entire family (4 sisters, 4 brothers by marriage, 2 parents), starting with discussion of funny things my little Angela's done recently and into "Happy Eid" exchanges, and what everyone will be doing. The Montreal crew? We'll be gorging on chocolate... (There's this place we've been meaning to try forever, and we figured a huge celebratory day is as good a time as any. I have book buying plans too, thanks to a bunch of recent exchanges with my favourite bookworm buddy about good reads - Glass Castle, March, here I come).

This year, I've truly been feeling the "internationalness" of the family. Everyone is everywhere, and yet with the Internet and phones and texting and VoIP being what they are today, I feel like we're all in the same place. I'm loving the stories from overseas and down-under (as we jokingly refer to Cali), and I'm loving being able to hear them so frequently.

Eid Mubarak to everyone, wherever you might be!