Saturday, July 19, 2014

For the Children of Gaza

Where is the Humanity?
By Bisma Parvez

I saw a picture today.
I saw a picture today of a little boy
I saw a picture today of a little boy who looked like my son
Except his face was scruffy; his eyes: bloodshot and puffy
I saw his picture and noticed his pouting lips
He was about to cry. That image so crisp
So crisp in my mind because it affected me so

I saw a picture today of a little boy and I thought, “this could be my son”
Helpless and alone, among rubble and ash
Hearing screams and cries as the bombs crash
Crash down on him, his family, his home
And yet he sits there, afraid and alone!
Because there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide,
This boy doesn’t even have a safe place to cry!
Being punished for a crime he didn’t commit
He is crying because he lost his mother
His mother who can no longer hug him, kiss him, and take care of him

This picture I saw, it tore me apart
My heart felt heavy, like a rock
This rock was weighing down inside of my chest
My chest could no longer bear the weight
The weight caused my heart to slip lower and lower
Lower it fell into the pit of my stomach
This rock, this heart, my heart, felt heavy
like it didn’t belong in my body
I wished I could rip it out and throw it away,
not feel the pain that it was causing
I felt the tears rolling down my face without pausing

But my pain can’t compare to the pain of this boy
Because he may never ever again feel any joy
My pain, imaginary because I still have my son
But the true loss is his, he is the one
The one that has no home, no one to care

I saw a picture today of a little boy who looked like my son
and it caused my heart
to turn into a rock
and sink into the pit of my stomach

Now imagine
Close your eyes and imagine
Imagine their hearts
The weight that they feel
The ones who experience the real pain
Not from pictures and videos on Facebook
But from their lives: a killing game
And as I start to shake thinking of this boy
This boy, who looks like my son
I realize that he isn’t the only one

Hundreds and thousands of children:
left alone
Buried under stone
Blood spilled
Seeing missiles in the sky
Knowing they’re going to die
Receiving a phone call to evacuate
But there is no place that is safe
Covered in blood
Eyes and ears shut
Wishing it away
But there’s no one to say,
“it’ll be okay.”
Because it won’t be okay!

I saw a picture of a little boy who looked like my son
And I can’t tell him it’ll be okay
It won’t be okay!
It won’t be okay until we open our eyes
Until we tell the world
Until we uncover the lies
Until we find humanity

Where is the humanity?
Where is the sanity?
Why so much apathy?
Gaza drowning in fatalities
Surrounded by calamity
Let me speak candidly
Because this is a reality
Where is the rationality
Killing because of nationality
While the world allows this brutality
What kind of psychopathic personality
Has this immense capacity
This disturbing mentality
To allow the bestiality
Of murdering savagely
Children and families
Calling them terrorists, while THEY live under tyranny
How can it be?
That the oppressed are the enemies?

I close my eyes and I think and I think
And my heart is getting heavier as it sinks and sinks
Worrying about this little boy who looks like MY SON
And so I took a breath - BREATHE
And I realize I am looking at a computer screen
As my son walks into my room asking for his toy
And so I return to my safe life, unlike that innocent little boy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ramadan Reflections - Day 24 - 25

I am seeking Allah's mercy and I am seeking His rewards. I am seeking the patience I so badly need but can't seem to find. I am seeking Allah's advice, as he is my advisor. I am seeking the reasons behind the situations that occur in life, in order to understand, in order to calm myself. I am seeking serenity and peace for my life. I am seeking happiness and I am seeking contentment.

I seek and I seek but I cannot seem to find the answer.

And so I seek no more. I close my eyes and open my heart. I increase my faith and leave it up to my Creator. He will show me the truth and He will pave my path. He will provide my answers.

And so I wait...

Until next time...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ramadan Reflections - Day 22 - 23

I miss the Masjid.

I miss attending Taraweeh prayer during the beautiful nights of Ramadan. 

I miss rushing to finish my iftar after Maghrib so that we could clean up before leaving the house for Isha. 

I miss struggling to find parking because no matter how early we leave, people still beat us there. 

I miss walking into the women's section and seeing that even though there is still 20 minutes until Isha, the lines are already packed and it's hard to find a spot. 

I miss looking down and seeing the rows and rows of men, waiting for the Isha Adhan. 

I miss seeing the ladies walk in late for Isha, yet still trying to squish into the first row.

I miss the feeling of frustration of getting kicked to the back line even though I came early. 

I miss the Arab auntie who always brings an extra abaya and spreads it next to her to save 3 spots for her friends right next to the door. 

I miss the Somalian aunties trying to touch my feet and moving them closer to me even if I try to move away. 

I miss the Pakistani aunties greeting me as if I am their own daughter and asking me if my mom is attending taraweeh that day. 

I miss the ladies sitting in the middle of the rows during the break and trying to squeeze into the front row when everyone stands up. 

I miss the Arab aunties turning around and shushing us and yelling 'Haram!' when they were the ones who were talking the loudest. 

I miss the standing in prayer and getting tired, contemplating if I should sit down but deciding against it during every rakat. 

I miss bending down in ruku and thinking, 'I should've worn socks."

I miss bowing down in sujood and getting distracted by the ladies who practically yell, 'Subhaana Rabbi al-A’laa.'

I miss wondering which woman is reciting surahs out loud as if they are the Imam.

I miss looking for my friends when I walk into the ladies' section and then praying next to them. 

I miss sitting cross legged in order to save a spot for a friend or family member. 

I miss the beautiful faces, waiting for the next prayer to start. 

I miss the Masjid. 

Until next time...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ramadan Reflections - Day 19 - 21

What is my tongue? 

Is it a mere organ, lifeless and inanimate, simply lying around so that I can taste and speak? 

No, it cannot be that my Creator would make an organ so useless and undeserving. My tongue has more purpose, more life and reason. My tongue has more use than simply being used in the dunya. Indeed, it will follow me to my grave and to my judgment. My tongue has a powerful purpose.

Is my tongue my friend, someone who says beautiful words and makes others smile? Is it my confidant, someone who doesn't allow me to make mistakes and protects me from saying things that I may later regret? Is it my teacher, someone who guides me to say what's right and only speak the truth? Is it my trustee, someone who will not speak in opposition to me or be a witness against me? Is my tongue my guide, encouraging me to praise my Creator?

Or is my tongue my enemy, betraying me when I need it most? Does it allow me to say and do as a please, only to witness against me later on? Is my tongue my adversary, letting me speak ill of whomever I please? Is my tongue my rival, relishing in the mistakes I make, the lies I tell and the gossip I spread?

The answer is simply: it is up to me. It is up to me how I choose to treat my tongue. It is up to me if I make a friend of this organ or let it become my enemy. It is up to me how I live my life. 

It cannot be that I could be so foolish, letting that which is so close to me become my own opponent. And so I pray that I am wise enough to make the right decision and befriend my tongue, make it my confidant and counsellor. I pray that mt tongue will stand with me, protecting me on the only Day that matters. 


Until next time...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ramadan Reflections - Day 14 - 18

So sorry I haven't kept up. It's been super busy, subhanallah.

I've been thinking about all the little annoyances and irritations that come up during Ramadan. We are tested with little things that really get our blood boiling and sometimes you just want to explode. That's the moment where we have to check ourselves the most. Anger is the work of Shaitan, but during Ramadan we need to control it, because the Shaitan isn't with us telling us to get angry or yell. It's our own nafs that we have to control.

The nafs, in its most common and animalistic stage, is the unrefined state of man. It is the ego, the inner self that pushes people to think of only themselves and their most immediate wants and needs. This nafs encourages us to pursue our urges and shed the moral code of conduct that Allah (swt) has mandated upon us. But during Ramadan, the month of mercy, we have the opportunity to try and control our nafs and become better Muslims. Some people let their nafs overcome them, while others control their nafs. However no one can overcome their nafs without the help of Allah. So during this month, we should make dua that we are able to control our most unrefined state and put our nafs at rest with the commands of Allah.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ramadan Reflections - Day 13

"I am the next step, your future home. You may be with me for only a short time or for longer than you can imagine. I do not offer hardwood floors or stainless steel appliances. I cannot give you a bedroom or a closet for your belongings. I have nothing to offer, but a simple space. Please know, that your time and stay with me is not my choice. I have no say in how your visit will pass.

"You may find comfort in me, light and space. You may see gardens from my windows and rivers flowing freely. You may smell the lovely scent of the Heavens and feel the cool breeze of Paradise. Regardless, you will look forward to the end of your stay, anticipating the rewards and blessings that lie ahead. No matter how wonderful of a host I am, you will realize that there is much more to gain.

"On the other hand, you may find only torture during your stay, in which case I will not be able to ward off the serpents and creatures that will enter. They will eat away at your body and soul, causing unbelievable pain. You may see flames from my windows and feel the blaze as if it is right under you. You may smell the sour scent of burning flesh, yet you will not want to leave me, knowing that much more aguish and suffering lies ahead. I will not be able to help you or lend any ease.

"Frequently remember me, your future home. I hope to be a gracious host, one who offers coolness and light. But if I am told, I will be dreadful, filling myself with serpents and flames. Moving in is inevitable; it is not up to you or I. But how your time shall is indeed in your hands. Think of me a warner, hoping to spare you the misery that I have seen so many go through. Please do not blame me if things don't go your way, though I certainly hope your time will be pleasant. So be wise of the choices you make and realize the precautions you need to take."


Your Grave

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ramadan Reflections - Day 12

The blessings that Allah bestows upon on our food during Ramadan is a miracle in itself. Two cups of rice, which was never enough in our home, now lasts for days. Dinner is so easily made and we are fulfilled and satisfied with much less than we are used to. Subhanallah, the barakah that Allah puts in one morsel of bread is more than we are able to imagine.

Today, we came home very late and had not prepared food. With only 40 minutes left until Maghrib, I was able to make chicken corn soup, Chinese chilli chicken, white rice and the sauces that go with each dish. I can't remember the last time I was able to whip up so much food in such a short amount of time. And without having to test my food, each dish tasted delicious!

Indeed, it is all through the mercy of Allah. If only we could see the miracles that surround us in our daily lives, we would be much more thankful for all that we have. 

Until next time...