Day 30: Eid Mubarak

Hope you all had a wonderful Eid day and hope the fun continues all weekend!  We had a great time — a variety of life’s experiences wrapped up in a day.  Family, friends, food, an MRI (for my one year check up), even a Justin Timberlake concert!  It was definitely a unique Eid; a poignant reminder that life is comprised of joyous moments and challenging issues, and both need to be faced with grace and faith.

I wanted to thank you all so much for joining in this journey. I feel honored that so many of you shared your own duas with us.  Your reflections, honesty and warmth have enriched me, I think all of us. And if you’re in, we’ll do it again next year with “30 days 30 traditions”. InshAllah.

Day 30, Dua 30: I pray that we all stay healthy, stay strong, stay safe, stay connected, and that God bless us and our families with all good things, and make our hardships easier to bear.  My warmest wishes to all of you for a wonderful Eid and a blessed year.

Love from the Ali family.

 

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Day 29: Peace, knowledge and understanding

with Dr. Azizah al-Hibri

I met Dr. Azizah al-Hibri on the first day of my Law and Leadership Summer Program with Karamah, the organization she founded 20 years ago to support Muslim women’s human rights.  I have immense respect and admiration for her as a teacher, mentor, friend.  We had the pleasure of being together on Eid morning, and I think her reflections and dua are a beautiful way to round out our Ramadan duas. 

Dr. al-Hibri  talked about how each one of us has a responsibility to truly understand what Islam is, and particularly to help young people understand, so we can clearly articulate this, especially when our faith is being attacked.  She talked about how in the Muslim world, brother is killing brother and sister, and about the serious mistreatment of women and children in the name of Islam.  “We are a religion of love, and justice and affection for each other and human dignity,” she said, and reminded us how the Quran says, he who kills a life kills all of humanity, and he who saves a life saves all of humanity.

She told us about the covenant (al-‘uhda al-nabawiyyah) made by Prophet Muhammad to all Christians in a letter to the Monks of St. Catherine Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula when he visited them. It stated that Christians will be protected, and that their monasteries, their icons, and their churches will be safe; it concluded that this covenant is binding till Judgment Day and that any Muslim who violates this is cursed until the end of time.  So why are some Christians fleeing Muslim lands when they have always been there and when the Prophet Muhammad guaranteed their safety, she asked. “Who knows about this covenant, why are we not teaching our children about this.”

Dr. Azizah asked us to say a dua together: May God bring peace and understanding amongst Muslims, and among Muslims and the world.  May God bring knowledge about what Islam truly is to Muslims and to the world. May He put in our hearts love and cooperation and understanding for all of humanity. May God bring peace to the whole world, and may He make us instruments in realizing this peace.

Ameen.

Day 29, Dua 29: Peace, knowledge and understanding

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Day 28: From Khala, with love

 Guest blogger: Dr. Khala
I have no idea how to preface this one … except with tears. Thank you Khala. Love you. 
 
“I visited Washington in the summer of ’92, Salma was at the airport with flowers, a big hug and a smile for me; I was visiting her for the first time in their home in Bethesda. A few years later I visited her in Geneva and Paris, then in Houston, and finally back in Washington D.C.  Each time she was there with flowers, a big hug and a smile, her voice filled with anticipation, love, and a warmth very special just to her.  Now just four weeks ago she was at the airport again to welcome Shireen, Zafar, Zayn and Leila with big hugs, smiles, love, food and flowers.
Salma has been welcoming me, my children, and now my grandchildren for as long as I can remember.  Her summers long ago in Syracuse planning OB, Shiro and Mehro’s parties, her “surprise” attendances at their graduations, and her wonderful ideas and help at their weddings are treasured memories. She lights up every room she enters, she brings a sense of fun, adventure, motivation, creativity, humanity and plain “good” to every thing she does.
My Dua is for Salma, for her health, happiness and success. She and her precious family are always in my prayers, my thoughts, my heart, and my life.”
Day 28, Dua 28: for Salma
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Day 27: Paying it forward

Guest blogger: Uzma Iqbal

Uzma is an oncologist and lives in Houston. That’s about all I know about her. She messaged me yesterday on the “30 days” facebook page to ask if she could contribute a dua.  I was honored that she was following the blog and felt inspired to share. Thank you Uzma for this beautiful reflection, so timely on Eid morning as generations gather and celebrate.  

“Paying it forward” gains the best return on investment.

This Ramadan has been specially blessed in many ways. As I look around the table in the morning, after we have just finished sehar, I see my mother, my father my two sons and my husband. I humbly and proudly feel the strength of the bond we share as a family.
Though the fundamental structure of the family unit remains the same, the roles are reversed. As a kid I looked up to my parents to provide me with all I wanted and needed, at times without even asking. Now I see myself in the center of the loving crossroads of the two generations.

My parents with time may have weakened in physical strength but have gained the strength of wisdom and patience. My children still young and energetic are like sponges ready to absorb all that comes their way. I see myself as the bridge that holds the two pillars together and gives strength to this architecture, a role once held by my parents.

I am truly enriched by this unique responsibility. Transfer of wisdom and patience from one end and strength and protection from the other meet in the middle before they cross over to the other side. I often wonder who is benefitting the most and it is almost humbling to see that I come out as the true winner. The richness of the love of my parents for my children and the strength of the bond my children provide to my parents is priceless. This wealth is too precious to ignore, the return on investment is priceless.

I pray that Allah gives me the strength to continue to be this passage between the two generations and show compassion and tolerance to my parents and leadership by example to my children. May God bless my family with the bounties of this world but more importantly may we reap the rewards in Jannat. I share this prayer with all humanity but most importantly with the Muslims around the world so we actively seek to be this bridge and continue to keep the infrastructure of our family system strong.

Day 27, Dua 27: Keeping family strong

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Day 26: For loved ones departed

Guest blogger: Nazish Khaliq

I met Nazish just a few months ago (thanks MaDiha!), but she has been a loyal reader of the blog since the beginning.  It almost seems like she’s waiting for each post, within minutes she’s hit ‘like’.   I asked her if she’d be willing to share a dua. She said she felt honored. The honor is ours Nazish. Your love for your dad, your heartfelt words for those we miss dearly, and that beautiful photo, feel like a warm embrace. 

“A year after I got married and moved to the US from Pakistan, my dad was coming over to visit me. During my first year away from home, I had missed my family tremendously and was just ecstatic to be able to see my dad.  The first week of his stay was absolutely wonderful; we talked, laughed, went places, shopped and made plans for his next trip to VA. Things started to change in the second week. He wasn’t feeling well and on his first trip to the ER, we found out that he has last stage liver cancer. The doctors told us nothing could be done at that point and advised us to take him home; but home was so far away, on the other end of the globe. I tried my best to take him home but his battle with cancer turned out to be very short and fierce. He did not survive and went home in a casket. All of this happened within three weeks.

It was during this period of loss and trial when I discovered the power of “Dua”. Nothing seemed to bring peace and comfort but Dua. I was reassured by this verse: “Of course I am near, I answer the prayer of every supplicant when he calls on Me…” ( 2:186).

Since then, I pray for him each day, many times a day, before I pray for anything else. I pray for his soul to rest in peace, I pray for his forgiveness, I pray for him to be rewarded for all that he did and all that he taught us, I pray for my family’s reunion with him in Jannah.

My dua is for those special ones who are not physically with us anymore but who continue to inspire us to do good deeds, who continue to brighten up our lives in so many ways.”

Day 26, Dua 26: For Dad, and for loved ones departed

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Day 25: Patience and Persistence

Guest blogger: my dear friend MaDiha

MaDiha is another friend who came into my life through my writing (thank you Gayle!).  It’s a friendship that didn’t take years to blossom; we’ve only met a few times, but she’s an important presence in my life, a loyal friend, someone I can count on.  She amazes me with how much she juggles. One afternoon she stopped by to see how I was doing.  That morning had been her last day of work at a stressful job.  With a million things vying for her attention, and every reason to take the afternoon off, she braved traffic to trek to Potomac to hold my hand  — with homemade gulab jamuns.  Yes, I’m blessed.

“As a daughter to my aging parents, sister to my only brother, wife and friend to my husband, mother to 3 children (ages 4 and under), and a full-time working professional, I am always completely and utterly guilt ridden. I am guilty of not spending enough time with my parents (even if it’s over the phone), not making an effort to stay in continuous touch with my brother and his family, not having enough time to nurture my relationship with my husband, not making the effort to be patient with my children – the list really does go on. The guilt is worse when on some days, I come home, and turn into a “yeller”. It’s so hard to acknowledge this, but it’s 100% true. And that is the worst type of guilt, because I know I have control over myself! In every instance, I end up feeling horrible.

In the pursuit of perfection, I am often left with the realization that I got nothing right; if anything, I end up feeling that I failed on all accounts. I must admit, I have been having more of those days recently. In part, it is because I am tired from my commute. Or exhausted from work, where interacting with a myriad of personalities is sometimes enough to make me lose my cool. But at the end of the day, my profession and my career are not my entire life. A wise colleague of mine recently told me that I must remind myself of what’s truly important. Of what’s my “legacy”. And thanks to him, I know that my legacy is my family. I will be replaced at work. Easily. But I will always hold my place as daughter, sister, wife, mother, and even friend.

So on days when my family (hubby and kids, I’m talking about you) want my time, my affection, my attention, and I feel frustrated and/or exhausted, ya Allah, please grant me the patience to recognize that even though I may be tired, these moments are irreversible, and that they deserve my full attention, that they come first, and that it’s not their fault that I have bad days at work.  And as I pray for patience, I also ask Allah to grant me the persistence to continue to self reflect, and recognize the consequences of losing my patience with loved ones. Because I know better. And I know if I make the effort to be more patient, with Allah’s help, I will be successful.”

Day 25, Dua 25: Patience and persistence

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Day 24: Inner Peace/Outward Contribution

Guest blogger: 

One of the most rewarding parts of keeping this blog has been hearing from people in different parts of the world who have come across the blog.  One such loyal reader has been Masu. When I was asked to speak about the 30 days blog at the United Nations last year, Masu wrote the most beautiful email explaining her own faith journey and why the blog feels meaningful to her.  I must have read that note a dozen times. It’s such a pleasure to have her contribute a dua – one that speaks to me personally, as I’m sure it does to many. Thank you Masu for this heartfelt, eloquent reflection. I hope to meet you soon.  

And God increases the guided in guidance. And the deeds that endure – the good deeds – are, with your Lord, better in reward and yield better returns. (Quran, Sura 19, Verse 76)

“As the wife of a busy executive and mother of two young girls who used to be a practicing lawyer but now chiefly manages our family life and connections while volunteering substantively wherever and whenever possible, one would think that the pressure, so to speak, was off.  No more brief filing deadlines or pressure to make partner.  No inner struggles about whether to attend the school play or a client meeting.  But the pressures I experience now are of a different kind.  Am I wasting my years of education and potential?  Will I ever be able to re-enter the workforce in an impactful way after a lengthy hiatus? Will my girls benefit from my having been home or am I just a helicopter parent who is actually making it more difficult for them to blossom into their independent selves?  Am I contributing to the world outside of my immediate family in any sort of meaningful, lasting, unique way?

Many days, I feel ill at ease and weighed down by the fact that the answers to those questions are elusive.  As my father has said to me, “everyone in the world wants to be somebody,” and high profile work, particularly in America, is often the vehicle for such recognition.  At those times I try to distract myself by doing something useful for someone else that I might not have had time for if I were still working full-time.  It could be something like calling a friend who is going through a difficult time in her life in the middle of the day or spending a few days a week helping a non-profit helping women fleeing violence attain more interest in their work and sponsorships.  I am always looking for ways to get out of my head and my house and do something that truly helps others.  I don’t always succeed in this effort – but I continually try because selfishly I know the benefits of doing good, however and whenever possible, are twofold – in helping others, I am actually helping myself.”

Dua 24, Dua 24:  Inner peace/Outward contribution

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