Monday, June 25, 2012

illustrationSUNDAY take 1

Updated every Sunday. Lately, I've been very inspired by the courageous and eloquent: Michael J. Fox.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


I came across a woman today I didn't recognize.
She immediate yelled my name and came over to me.
"An'aaaaaaam! It's me! I bet you don't remember me!"
It wasn't because I had forgotten who she was.
Or because I hadn't seen her in over 4 years.
It was because this was the first time I had seen her smile.

Her smile stretched across her face.
It was vibrant, sincere, and contagious.
She looked younger. She looked beautiful.

"Sister X!"

We embraced. I felt her warmth. I was so happy for her

Four years ago, I had visited her at her home. We were strangers. Her husband had passed away in front of her and her children. It was awkward and uncomfortable. She didn't smile.  Months after, I saw her again. Time seemed to have stopped for them.

And today, when I saw her smile - Time stopped for me, just that second until I yelled her name in affirmation. Her wounds seemed to healing because she was smiling. The rest of the night, I couldn't stop looking at her. Whether she was eating, talking to her friends, or checking her phone, I needed to see her smile. I needed to see her exist.  Her daughter had grown. She looked good.

I was so happy for me.

God can leave you heartbroken, but He will make it better.  You will be ok, again, someday..., and you will eventually smile.

I cannot imagine the reward she received for smiling at me tonight. I finally understand why a smile is charity.

I needed that smile.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Lately, my thoughts are scattered
Lately, my throat is dry
Lately, I have been preoccupied.
As I tried to study, I noticed I had absentmindedly written a name on my coffee sleeve.  How numbing is pain  love.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
But still, miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
That you didn't grow under my heart,
But in it. - Carolyn Wise

Couldn't be more perfect....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


He holds my heart in his hands.
And He holds his heart in His hands.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Goodbye Dennie

You were a beautiful soul...
I worry about your sweet husband
May Allah (swt) make it easy.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

25 Aphorisms from a 25 year old

1) Give up Soda (especially diet)  --> it's death

2) Leave facebook --> You're not keeping in touch with people, you are keeping tabs on them. The people who truly love and are important in your life will always be in your life, even without facebook.

3) Never take the elevator or the escalator when you can easily take the stairs  --> God gave you legs, use them!

4) Never go to bed angry at your loved one --> You're not gonna sleep anyways, so might as well resolve it and get a good night's rest.

5) EXERCISE --> Your body is the greatest miracle you'll ever know. Be kind to it.

6) Find a new passion every now and then --> You'll never be bored and you'll constantly be amazed at your abilities

7) Be kind to your siblings and keep them close --> After your friends have abandoned you, only your brother or sister (or both, if you're blessed), will be your comfort and your direction.

8) Keep 5 lifelong friends --> Not 50.

9) Give your parents a hug and a kiss everyday --> I did that everyday until now... I just don't see them as much. And maybe because I've lost the innocence of a child.

10) Laugh --> There is humor in EVERYTHING.

11) Cry -->  It will purify your heart.

12)  Reflect --> I have this lame blog. You don't need one, you could do it on your way to work

13) Watch the sunset (or rise, if you're not lazy like me) --> It will make you cry

14) Turn the AC off --> And roll your windows down. There is nothing like driving at night, and feeling the breeze.

15) Be kind --> Everyone is going thru something.

16) Guard your heart --> This is tough, so good luck.

17) Make your bed everyday --> I sleep on the floor so my bed is always made :)

18)  If something doesn't make sense now, don't complain --> God has a plan. That's why hindsight is always 20/20

19) Be humble --> You don't know shit. Stop acting like you do.

20) Curse every now and then. --> But be very mindful of it. The tongue reflects the heart.

21)  Love everyone --> We are all in this together

22) Hate no one --> It takes so much energy, and you're already so lazy... why waste it on someone?

23) Forgive others -> Leave it to God to decide

24) Forgive yourself --> This is tough, so good luck

25). "If you're still single, Allah is saving someone special for you." -- borrowed from Amarra who got it from tumblr.

Turned 25 the other day. I wrote this all under 15 minutes. Just a stream of consciousness. May Allah forgive me for my many shortcomings. And please forgive me, if I've hurt you.. jazakAllah Khair.

I used to collects quotes. 2006

Saturday, October 1, 2011

inspired by today's kutbah

NY TIMES opinion section 9.26.11

Floods. Dengue Fever. Earthquakes "Terrorism." Corruption. Poverty.  Pakistan was where I spent my childhood. Eating jamin from the jamin tree, flying kites, taking walks with my grandfather. I can still smell the jasmines my grandmother grew in her garden.  Despite its apparent ugliness, there still remains hope for this country and it's people. And only those who have happy, carefree memories invested in  this strange yet vigilant land can only understand. 

 I'm not a nationalist.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

thank you very mocha

It's 8:15p, and I know I only have 15min before the coffee shop is closed at the hospital. When I reach the counter, the coffee shop crew is clearly cleaning up and calling it a night. I order my usual. I wait. He hands me my coffee. There is no lid. Last minute negligence! But instantly I see the delicate floral design swimming atop my drink. I've been at this place dozens during normal hours, but no one ever took the time to add that subtle detail. It truly made me happy. "Thank you." My gratitude is noted. He hands me the lid.

Human kindness. You just gotta believe in it, and you will see it everywhere <3.

Brew Haha Crew Art

Sunday, September 18, 2011

one way

When I was in Makkah, the world made started to make perfect sense. There were times
when I did tawaf, and I was completely silent. I had nothing to ask for. Just forgiveness and mercy. The best time for tawaf was before fajr, of course. And then the rising sun would join us. There was incredible peace even with the inevitable pushing and shoving. I didn't mind it at all. It actually made it easy, I barely had to move my feet, the momentum of the worshipers drove the revolutions.

And the energy I had! We only ate two meals a day. One after fajr. The other late at night after isha'a. Breakfast was always scrambled eggs, lentils, olives, cheese, and black tea. But it always tasted so satisfying and wholesome. Dinner was something my dad wanted, usually a Pakistani traditional dish. I stopped taking the elevators, because I realized it was faster and more efficient to go up 6 flights of stairs than to wait for the elevator, even after a day's worth of ibadah under the Arabian sun. We would sleep at around 10pm and then get up a 2 am. I never needed an alarm clock, and I never hesitated to jump out of bed. I was high on life and so utterly happy. I became a tawaf-junkie. My father stopped chaperoning me for tawaf the first night at Makkah. "You do what you want, I need some rest."

I watched the birds. I chased the pigeons. I talked or attempted to talk to sisters from Algeria, Egypt, Turkey and Malaysia. I listened to the hum of distant Qur'an recitations. I took naps on the vast carpets. I was alone and loved it. Even with one million? other people.

And here I am, I've lost that security of peace. I knew it wouldn't last.
It was my Makkan-high, but I am grateful I experienced it. It's my place of peace, when nothing makes sense... It's my escape and my hope that one day things will make sense..

But one thing Makkah never had and never will is trees...and the season of Autumn. It's my favorite time of the year...and I am grateful.

Friday, September 16, 2011


One of these days, when I no longer feel a need nor the desire to write/share my thoughts (publicly) I will also delete this blog. Until then...

Monday, September 5, 2011


On the 4th day of Shawaal, we were coming from the hospital and had stopped at a small masjid to pray Maghrib. At the women's section there was a plate of dates and some waters bottles for those fasting. I was surprised and comforted by the masjid's kindness and thoughtfulness. My masjid probably wouldn't have this, I thought. I quickly broke my fast, and joined my mom and two other women for salah. Moments before we started the prayer, I glanced over my right shoulder and saw a women crying, her black mascara running with her bold tears.  What battle she was fighting? And then the prayer started momentarily after, and as the imam recited the words with beauty and conviction, I could hear the sister softly reciting those same words with pain and pauses for air.  I finished, made my du'a and included her. And when I left, I wished I had given her a hug... I did get a chance, but I just couldn't do it. I guess I'm not at that level of maturity (or is it compassion?) where I am compelled to comfort strangers as my heart wants to.

In the car, my mom noticed what I had noticed, and she, too, wondered and wished.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato

my sister's battle

Saturday, September 3, 2011

For some rhyme or reason, I was really touched by Shaykh Mohammed's Eid Message

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله تعالى والصلاة والسلام على خير خلقه وآله وصحبه تتوالى
أما بعد، السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to say to everyone of you; my friends, my students, and all of the active brothers and sisters in the field of da'wa: Eid Mubarak.

Although the blessed month of Ramadan has swiftly left us; but the Infinite Mercy of Allah and His Unbound forgiveness will be with us whenever we seek them. We should remember that Allah is the Lord of every month and every day; and in as much as we were keen to get closer to Him in Ramadhan, we should be keen on that after it.

I hope that we all have attained the best spiritual benefits of Ramadhan, not only reaping the best rewards for the various acts of worship, but having strengthened our iman and yaqin, and increased our taqwa and istiqamah.

I would like to congratulate you on this Eid and convey my sincerest du'a to you, that Allah Almighty, out of His Bounty, make it a blessed occasion of joy and happiness for you all, in all matters of your deen and dunia.

Whilst you all celebrate this blessed day of Eid, remember your brothers and sisters in the blessed land of Syria; as they are rising up against the most ruthless regime in the world today; a regime which has bombed mosques, killed and mutilated men, women and children. So, do not forget your Syrian brothers in your du'a.

With my salaam and du'a
Servant of the Seekers of Knowledge
Muhammad Abul Huda Al-Yaqoubi

Sunday, August 21, 2011

June 14, 2003

Years ago, I was in the newspaper for some award. Well, I decided to make some real art out of it. The best quote on it was from my high school art teacher: "..she does not have to decide between two careers. Art will definitely play a big role in her life." - Richard Miller.

Well said, Mr. Miller.

I love trees, and this is me.

"Middletown Teen Honored as Artist"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

cranial nerves

Dr. E's emphasis on the big picture

Thomas Jefferson/Arcadia -  Clinical Anatomy Class 2011
Sometimes, when you study such finite and detailed intricacies, you forget the grand picture. How even the most detailed speck is even a smaller speck in the grand picture. How everything is relative....Probably doesn't make sense, but when Dr. E showed that ppt slide, a light bulb went off...and it was all put in perspective for that brief moment.  

And that doesn't happen too often.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Makkah and Madinah

Ramadan will be here soon insha'Allah. I am very exicited and even a little tense... I need it.
I never reflected on my umrah in words. I don't think its possible.  I cannot articulate my emotions and the tranquility I felt in words... But I do miss it so.

A few months after ummrah, I was walking in Walmart, well, more like lost in Walmart. I was trying to find the soft drinks aisle or maybe it was the cereal aisle, and as I walked I closed my eyes and was reminded of the the daily tahajudd walks. I heard the shuffling of feet and the echos, I felt a breeze, I saw hundreds of worshippers shrouded in the early morning-darkness as they walked to the Kabba... And then I found my aisle.

Ummrah was probably the happiest and most carefree moment in my life thus far...
I am dumbfounded, I dunno what to write... I left my heart in Makkah.

a girl's best mahrum - her father :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dear Mr. Cadaver

Dear Mr. Cadaver,

I apologize but I do not know your name. Nor do I know your story.  Or even what you died from.They don't tell us these things. I only know that I am truly honored to able to learn the intricacies of the human body by the sacrifice you made by not having a proper burial.

When I first entered the dissection room, the smell of formaldehyde? quickly overtook me. I was expecting that. But when, I saw dozens of bodies covered with white cloth, it was very surreal and I became somewhat emotional. I quickly gloved up, tied my plastic apron and walked to you, table#6. You were in the prone position, so I could not directly see your face. But I still wanted a look, and peaked under, and there you were with your eyes open...  Instantly, my thoughts were like the formaldehyde that ambushed my senses, and I  wondered about your soul.... In Islam, we believe a body should be buried very quickly after death. And here you were... lying there...  still very pink...your body was only to be desecrated further.

I still worry/ponder about these thoughts, but honestly, I've become so accustomed to you now. And sometimes, I forget you were and still are a real person.  We've skinned your back. We think you died of heart attack, because of your age and also because of the layers and pounds of fat we removed from your body.  We are very respectful to your body still, but we forget the sacrifice you made.  And this is why I write to you.

brachial plexus flashcard
When we dissected your arm and forearm, I was completely astonished at the complexity specifically the brachial plexus. I never knew or even imaged the armpit to be so complicated! We spend hours tracing the nerves and arteries from your armpit to your hands. And when I held your hand so I could dissect it, you once again became very real to me. I dunno there is something about finger nails, it makes a person seem so alive.... The hands are also so very complicated.

Monday you will be on your back, so we can work on your abdomen. It takes 3 men and a few women to rotate you.We feel terrible about how it's done, but we gotta do it. And soon enough as we dissect you further, you will be completely unrecognizable.

I've spent 24 hours with your already, and still did not do well on my first exam. I know I failed it. By how much will determine whether I will be allowed to continue with this program. Yea, I'm pretty much terrified. I'll be spending even MORE time with you just so I can pass...

And that is why I felt the need to thank you. You should not be desecrated without acknowledging your sacrifice and your importance to students of medicine. Pictures do not do the body justice.

 May Allah have mercy on your soul.

With respect and gratitude,
A thankful student.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

cupcakes for saadia

Papa Cupcake, Mama Cupcake, Baby Cupcake ( zeeshan + saadia) (baby is unnamed)

Because she loves to make bake, especially cupcakes... People have given her customized cookie jars, cupcake decorating equipment, cupcake cookbooks, so why not some wholesome cupcake ART?

Funny, how I barely know her... But Allah has put a lot of love in my heart for her.  And she deserves all the joy and happiness of being a mom. May Allah give her all the happiness I would want for myself. Amin

Would look a lot better if I pulled out my SLR!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Berlin Wall: West Germany
Berlin Wall: East Germany
SI Photographer Walter Looss
Awesome photo journal of photographer
"You cannot hope to enjoy the harvest without first laboring in the fields" - John Wayne Gacy ( self portrait of serial killer sent to an FBI agent)
Writings by a New Orleans Native after Hurricane Katrina
View of the Capitol from 6th level
History of Penn Ave

Elvis Exhibit
911 wreckage
Global Headlines covering 911
Journalists killed in action
I love this picture
Well said
Pulitzer Prize Photography

Thoroughly loved this museum without a thorough visit.  If you're in the DC, put this on top of museums  to visit list.