Eid-ul-Fitr: The One’s That Are No Longer With Us

golden-eid-festival-moon-with-mosque.jpgIt’s true that the days of Eid changes once one marries. Then there’s the never ending battle of which Eid with who’s family. Alhamdulillah, once I got married we sort of just winged it and so far, every Eid was special in it’s own way.

I remember my first Eid-ul-Fitr after getting married. We were having Eid with Mr M’s family and had my family over as well. We cooked the entire Eid lunch from scratch, something I’ve never done before. We were always just the accessories in the kitchen growing up, where my mum and aunts will be doing the actual cooking.

eid-mubarak-happy-eid-background-vector-2360330

My most fondest Eid memories are mostly from my childhood and teens. This time of year was always spent with my dad’s family (mum is a revert, so there was no battle). My late aunt Aabeda, would never sleep the night of Eid (when the moon is sighted at sunset) and the food preparations would begin. She’d make everyone’s favourite dish and give in to all our whims and fancies. We must have been about sixteen or so, and being the most unconventional of the lot (and still is), my cousin (her son) and I wanted our jalebi to be blue (which she made) and not the traditional saffron colour. She’d begin her baking about 2 weeks prior to Eid and then hide the baked goods away from our sticky fingers. I do believe that if Instagram was around during her time….her laden tables would have broke the internet. She was a one in a million woman, with a heart of gold. She never hesitated to open up her home to any one. On the day of Eid, people will be in and out her house with a full belly and a treat to take home. There were many a times, where she would go without  to ensure that the next person didn’t have to.

She was the glue in the family, and even though she was younger than dad, when she spoke, he would listen.

This post is in memory of my beautiful Aunty “Beda” I miss her tons and make dua that she receives the highest ranks in jannah (heaven).

 

Advertisements

The Swimsuit Edition, Where Sexism Knows No Size

The Melissaverse

Apparently we’re all supposed to celebrate the fact that an average-sized woman will appear in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

I’m told it’s some kind of triumph that, of the many women pointlessly objectified on the pages of a magazine that’s supposed to be about sports, one will be somewhat heavier than all the others. Sexism is so deeply woven into the fabric of sports in America that this, incredibly, is meant to represent progress.

Never mind that this year’s cover model, in addition to being exactly the size you’d expect her to be, is also waxed to within an inch of her life. Never mind that only average-sized model in the magazine appears not as part of an editorial layout but in an ad. Never mind that both women appear to have been liberally airbrushed, unless you believe neither of their bodies has a single stray hair, birthmark…

View original post 761 more words

Let’s talk; Islam and terrorism do not go hand-in-hand.

districtyellow

Let’s talk; Islam and terrorism do not go hand-in-hand.

Now I’m not saying that no terrorists believe in Islam, but I am saying this; not all terrorists are people of Islamic faith, they are not all Muslims, and the religious beliefs espoused by the Islamic faith do not condone terrorist action.  PhD M Amir Ali asserts that terrorist actions are condemned in the Quran and that it is also asserted that such action should be met by severe punishment. When we see terrorism enacted by individuals claiming they are doing so in the name of Islam it is important to keep in mind that these people are in the minority; they are extremists, they do not represent the belief of their religious community as a whole. These actions are not sanctioned by Islam; media coverage and fear mongering encourage us to see such terrorist actions as representative of a religion…

View original post 553 more words

Why I can’t celebrate Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize.

middle east revised

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this Friday to India’s Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education. That is great news, and it might almost mean Nobel Peace Prize makes sense again, after being awarded to Barack Obama in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”, and to European Union in 2012 “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”.

Still, there is something that really troubles me. How come we (meaning the West) always recognize the “devils” of the East, the torments children like Malala had to and have to go through (in her case, with the Taliban), but always fail to recognize our own participation in creating those “devils”? How come we never…

View original post 687 more words

Broken Dreams

Drowning in a darkness

Of deep despair

Believing I will resurface

But seeing truths that are not there

See the rays of sunlight

They shine upon your scars

Reaching for that broken smile

Among the hidden stars

Hearing the tear drops

Falling from your eyes

Believe my hidden secrets

And tell my stolen lies

Bring me to the surface

Give me air to breathe

Let me see the sorrow

Upon my broken dreams

 

Why I’ve decided to take the #100daysofhappy challenge

In our modern world everyone is running around trying to finish piles of tasks, running the never ending rat race; that happiness has become as elusive as owning that Ferrari customised to your specifications.

The month of May has been a very daunting time for me. So much so, that I’ve lost perspective of the little things that made me happy, even if it was just for a short time. Simple things like a text from the people I love, catching the sunset on my way back from work or those kisses on my hand that my two year old nephew is so fond giving.

On Friday, my good friend and colleague, Miss T, suggested that we start the #100daysofhappy challenge as of Monday 9 June. And I said ok, a bit skeptical though. At first I thought, how is this going to help me in any way. So the more I thought of it, the more the concept appealed to me. I realised it’s not about being happy all the time, 24/7 for one hundred days, because that will be impossible (but if you have the pills that can do that, please let me know).

So what happens after the 100 days are up? Nothing. I’m not doing this for anything or anybody, it’s purely for me. Just to capture those tiny moments and realise the importance of joy/being happy daily.

I will be documenting my daily “happy moments” on my instagram account. I will occasionally blog about it too.

To follow my #100daysofhappy challenge follow me on instagram saadz21.

Our Fallen Hero – Oscar

2012 Virgin Active Sports Industry AwardsJust a week ago, Oscar Pistorius was just the “Blade Runner” to every South African, double amputee Paralympic medalist and first amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games, an inspiration to millions all over the world. The positive approach that he has is incredible. He was once quoted saying “You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have”

 
And then, last Thursday February 14 2013, Oscar was painted with a different brush.On the 8am news bulletin, I heard that Oscar has accidentally shot and killed his girlfriend, mistaking her for a burglar! And the first thing I though was what a terrible tragedy. With each news bulletin, a different version of the alleged murder was revealed.
Within hours, social networks were flooded with comments, remarks, and jokes about the runner. People simply forgetting that a life was lost! Forgetting that Reeva Steenkamp was someone’s daughter! Forgetting that just months ago, we set glued to television sets, waiting anxiously to watch Oscar participate at the Olympics.

Then I had an epiphany – We find it easier to deal with fiction, than it is dealing with the truth. Maybe that’s how many people react to shock. And shock was the emotion that was felt by every South African as well as myriads around the world.
It’s been five days since the news broke to the world, and it’s unbelievable as to how many “incidents” about the runners’ personal life is surfacing; His love for fast cars, wild animals and guns. Is that not typical male interest? But do we admire a man who keeps a machine gun in the house? Whether he killed his girlfriend accidentally or deliberately?

Limiting ourselves to his behaviour on the track, many people lost some admiration for him at the London Paralympic games. He was beaten fairly by a Brazilian athlete, and his immediate response was to accuse his rival of cheating. There was no cheating. After a word from his team,(no doubt mentioning his $2 million a year sponsorship deals), backtracking followed, and an apology was made. But some of us wondered why, exactly, we were expected to admire this person.

Sportspeople are routinely held up as role models or, when they fall short, regarded as people who have fallen short and stopped being the role models that they surely could be. Sport is at the centre of our moral universe, sportspeople are a force for good. Everyone should admire and emulate them, right?

It would be easy to say that people like Pistorius are rare: that most sports stars offer great role models to young people. But then there is Lance Armstrong, barely apologising after years of drug-taking and violent threats against people in cycling who were the slightest bit curious.
Tiger Woods, and his infamous cheating scandal. There is John Terry, who was captain of the England football team when he was found to have called Anton Ferdinand a “fucking black c**t” – And after the hero’s career is over? The role model may end up like Mike Tyson?

Of course, sport is full, too, of decent and honourable people. With the likes of Pele, doing great things for Africa. David Beckham, clearly he thinks of how he can behave well, to society as well as to his family. They are worth our admiration. But then, seriously – OJ Simpson? Diego Maradona?

Aiming to find role models in sport is a dangerous business. Sportsmen seem no better behaved on the whole than any other segment of the entertainment business, with the distinction that strippers, on the whole, don’t talk piously about their duty to be “role models” or how much everyone admires them when they are arrested for killing their partners.
But even if the topic of our admiration is as well-behaved as anyone might wish, is it really the best object to present to our children for their aspiration? Children should be encouraged into libraries, to extra-mural studies, to regard revolutionaries, poets, painters, thinkers, doctors, professionals as their heroes worthy of their aspiration. They will most likely lead useful and productive lives.

The individual case is terribly sad – a young woman has been killed, and proves that the abuse of women occurs across all boundaries, irrespective of ethnic groups, or socio economic statuses. Perhaps, as the story unfolds and the court comes to its conclusion, we could wonder whether we really want to present this culture as anything worth aspiring to, or even taking much interest in.

(THIS IS MY PERSONAL OPINION)

I Heart Change

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. Kennedy

 
Here’s the reality of it; you can love change  or hate it, fight it or embrace it, it’s going to happen with or without your approval.
Simply put, change is the “process of becoming different” it can be in the form of a new baby, changing careers, moving to a new city, the loss of a loved one, just to name a few. Be it positive or negative, there will always be the sense of unknown.

 
It’s been said that the only constant in our world today is change! Most of us resist it, because we are comfortable and secure in our world as we know it. And yet, if change is an inevitable reality of life (and it is), then we’d better be prepared to respond when the unexpected comes knocking on our door.

 
Not every person has the same tolerance to risk. Some adventurous souls actually relish the adventure of new situations. Others like their life exactly as it is: nice and predictable. For these people, the idea of change produces fear.

I recall having a conversation with an acquaintance about a month before I married my soul mate, Mr. M (that’s what I’ll refer hubby to on my blog). He heard I was getting married the following month after dating Mr. M for just nine months! (Yip nine months) And he said to me, (words I’ll never forget) “You never miss an opportunity, do you?” And I looked at him and said, “No, I don’t, and I am not afraid of change!” But after growing up in a small town, getting married would mean having to move to Jo’burg, (Mr. M’s hometown) 180km from home! It was exciting, but at the same time scary, would I find a job? Would I make new friends? And it was then I realized that I heart change! It keeps me alive, fueled, and ready for anything and everything!

From past experiences involving change, this is what I’ve observed;
It always seems bigger than it really is. We’re human, (and worse women!) We tend to over-think, over-analyze, and almost always expect the worse, and once we’ve passed the particular “stage” we look back and say “Oh? That wasn’t as bad as I thought”. Best way to deal with it; take it one day at a time, step by step

 
Change creates unwanted stress. That’s a known fact. And no two people deals with stress the same way. So now you not only have to deal with this “change” but also the stress that comes with it. If you’re in a marriage or relationship, you need to understand one another’s stress reactions and this will enable you to work together more effectively. Times of intense pressure can either pull you together or push you apart. Stress will come, and you need to ensure that it does not divide and conquer.

 
Life doesn’t always follow the plan that you may have had laid out for yourself. However, opportunities often present themselves in unexpected ways—learn to recognize and take advantage of these opportunities even if they were not part of your initial plan.

Focus is the next principle on dealing with change. When a transition in your life occurs, be sure to keep your thoughts on what you can control. Certain aspects of your life may operate outside of your control.
You have the opportunity to choose a perspective about change; is it overwhelming and stressful, or exciting and fun?

 
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr

images: Google.com

The World can be a Better Place

“Without respect for people of different races or ethnicities or religions, how can we have a peaceful and harmonious society or world? And without a harmonious society, how can there be the necessary economic development and atmosphere conducive to spiritual happiness and self-realization?” Jagad Guru
After the recent events around the blasphemous film (which I have not seen) depicting the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), I found it necessary to share my thoughts and feelings.
(Please note that this is entirely my opinion)

So, I like a silver car, you like red, I prefer white bread, you prefer brown. I’m an evening person, you’re a morning person. These are the kind of differences that we have as people and need to accept it. And we do, most of the time anyway. So why is it so much more difficult when it comes to accepting the beliefs, religion, way of life, faith, (whatever you want to call it) of others?
Religion can be a touchy subject, a taboo. However, the fact that it is taboo needs to be addressed. Belief, whether in religion or science, is a concept that should be respected and admired in us as humans, not something used as a tool for persecution.
As a woman of Islamic faith, born into a marriage of interfaith, (where my dad’s born Muslim, and my mum reverted to Islam from Hinduism), I feel that I have gained something that not many people have, and that is exposure.
I have had the freedom of being able to practice my religion, but at the same time be exposed to other religions as a result of having family and friends with other beliefs. If I have to single out one valuable lesson that I’ve learned from my parents; it would have to be respect! Respect for others beliefs, culture, traditions and race.

We must begin to reach common ground, where we can all believe as we wish without fear of discrimination. There is no justification for trying to oppress any religion or lack of religion, for that matter. A lack of religion is another aspect of the issue that needs addressing. There is nothing wrong with a lack of religion, just as there is nothing wrong with believing in any religion. The only wrong in the equation is the intolerance between belief systems.

In a perfect world, we would all have the freedom to believe as we wished or not at all, if that was our choice. To grow closer to that ideal, we have to make the first step and stop our discrimination of other beliefs, so they can grow in their tolerance of us in turn. This wouldn’t be easy, but it’s vital. The religious must stop trying to prove that their belief is the only way, while the ones who don’t believe in much must stop trying to prove that religion is a lie.
Why is it so difficult for us to reach a common ground? Religion should be something worth respecting and valuing, not a tool for mockery.
How can we expect tolerance of our faith when we cannot be tolerant of the faith of others? Tolerance is a two-way street; we cannot expect to change or fix anything when all we do is demand respect for our views.
This unfortunately is one of those issues that are not going away anytime soon. Perhaps one day, we will all be able to live in this world in peace and harmony.

I believe that the world can be a better place.

Increase your quality of Life

It helps to know what ‘quality of life’ means to you. It’s an intensely personal question. Your vision of quality may differ from that of mine, and that’s what makes the world such an intriguing beast. We’re fascinating in our differences.

I may value connections, authenticity and adventure; dream of kids, a thriving business, founding a charity, and you might be driven by success, learning and independence; you won’t be complete until you hit CEO and make Forbes list.
I have decided to put down the things that I think can increase any life;

1. Spend time with your thoughts. Call it what you want, meditation, time out, whatever. I think it’s important to take time to reflect as this helps to put things into perspective.

2. Learn something new. I’m not saying go learn a new language (which isn’t a bad idea), but read up on something that you wouldn’t normally read, and share this with someone, (trust me, your brain will thank you) and give yourself an instant confidence boost!

3. Leave the routine. Even for just a minute a day. (And that’s coming straight from a Routine QUEEN!) Truth be told, when I do break out of it, it feels really good! (It’s still hard to bend the “rules” though).

4. Spend time outside. This is something I love to do, although I don’t  I get to do it as much as I would like to. I personally feel that this simple act instantly reduces stress.

5. Give yourself. Mentor, contribute, practice random acts of kindness, express gratitude. Give your time, be fully present for your family, change the world. There are a million ways to give of yourself. Do it big, do it small, just do it.  It’s one of the most positive equations in the world: You give of your time or resources, which improves someone’s quality of life, which makes you feel needed and valuable, which in turn improves your quality of life. We’re all better off.  Magic.

6. Connect with people. We are social beings. Pay special attention to your family, your partner, your friends, and your colleagues.  Explore and strengthen your connection to a Higher Power.  And be open enough to enjoy the spontaneous connections that come from making a new friend at the gym or sharing a witty remark with stranger at the supermarket.  Genuine curiosity and kindness are an amazing way to foster connections.

7. Celebrate. We all need a healthy dose of play in our lives. this fuels our creativity and feeds our spirits. Celebrating is a wonderful way to share love. Celebrate with traditions, with heartfelt compliments, with notes in lunch bags, with surprises, with big evenings out, or with cozy evenings in.

8. Recognize what makes you happy. Reflect on the parts of your day that bring you real satisfaction. Everyone is working towards something, but what makes you happy now? Try to incorporate more of what made you happy yesterday into today.

9. Love yourself. Treat your body with respect and care. Help yourself age well by staying flexible, protecting your skin from sun and exercising your mind.  Most importantly, sleep well.

10. DO NOT STRESS!

images: Google.com