Thursday, December 28, 2006

Eid Al Adha

Tomorrow is the day. 9 Dhul Hijah. It's the day people from all around the world of all shapes and sizes will gather on the top of mount Arafa in Mecca facing their one and only creator.
The men all garbed in a uniform of white wrapped in exactly the same fashion. The women simply covered from head to toe. Presidents, ministers, doctors, engineers, businessmen, plumbers, drivers, janitors, black, white, yellow, brown, Arab, Persian, American, African, all doing exactly the same thing in the same exact place. They all turn towards their Lord and pray.
Allah will not accept their deeds based on their ethnicity or their social class. He will not look at them based on how much money they have or what sex they are. He will listen to his worshiper, the followers of his final messenger Muhammad, based on how much faith and conviction the person has in his/her heart.
Meanwhile those who were not blessed with the chance to make this once in a lifetime pilgrimage are in their homes fasting and praying. Worshipping their creator and thanking Him for all the blessings He has bestowed upon them.
Then they sleep and wake up to welcome 10 Dhul Hijah. The day of the Big Feast. The second Muslim holiday of the year. In memory of the day Prophet Ishmael, son of Prophet Abraham was spared from a slaughtering. When Allah sent Prophet Abraham a dream that he was to take his son's life by slaughtering him and Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael complied with all the faith in the world that Allah knows best. A sign of complete surrender. A sign of true faith and belief. Allah spared Abraham and Ishmael and at the last minute sent down a sheep for him to slaughter instead.
Now thousands of years later, Muslims around the world on this day slaughter a sacrifice and give out parts of it to the needy and have a feast with the other part for friends and family.
On the holiest of days, we as Muslims show a rare unity. At home and at the holy land of Mecca.
Happy Eid!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Food Culture

It is so funny how every culture calls itself the food culture. In reality the one thing that this world has in common is food. The whole world has a food culture.
I'm supposed to be visiting Cairo for a week Inshalla. So I'm planning on seeing all my family and friends. Everytime I plan something its for a meal.
Let's have breakfast Wednesday morning. Let's have lunch on Thursday. Let's have Iftar (for those who are fasting) Thursday afternoon. Let's have dinner on Friday.
While planning your whole life around food has got to be detrimental to your physical strength, it actually helps your social life.
If you're going out with someone for example and run out of things to say that's ok because have the evening you'll have your mouth full of food and you can not talk. Or maybe you can talk about food itself.
The one topic in the whole world that should not steer itself into something so controversial that the outing becomes a disaster.
Then of course a very strong element of the food culture is the way holidays are all turned into food centered events.
For Muslims, what are meant to be the holiest of days end up being spent in the kitchen cooking up what will be eaten all night long. The month ends up being the month that poor people look forward to because people give them food they can only dream of all year long.
The Bayram, or Feast as most people would translate it is always centered around a lavish breakfast or lunch.
Fridays, families gather for lunch.
There could be chaos. People yelling at each other. Children running everywhere. But when breakfast, lunch or dinner is served, everyone unites on one table passing dishes and enjoying this blessing God sent down to us.
Food is the one pleasure we can enjoy without feeling guilty. However, we should not let it become our soul purpose of existence. It is one of the many gifts Allah sent down to us. Lets not abuse it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I graduated from Journalism and Mass Communication. When I first majored in the field I wanted to make a difference. So, I set out to become a journalist. Now 7 years later looking around I see how much influence the media has on the world. The influence is positive and negative. Mostly negative I believe.
With the assortment of media through which every single human being on this Earth can somehow get their message through, so many different ideas emmerge. That is a good thing.
Meanwhile with so many people telling so many stories, people are always focused on everybody else. The media sets standards the world feels it has to live by.
The definition of a democracy. The definition of liberty. The definition of comfortable living.
Whoever is faster and more innovative and appealing wins. Takes over the media.
While that is going on, people forget to look at themselves and bettering themselves from the inside. Each human being has his/her own values if they use those values to better themselves, that is a step to bettering their family.
Each family has its own values. If they use these values to better themselves from within that is a step to bettering their community.
Each community has its own values. If they use these values to better themselves from within that is a step to bettering their country.
Each country has its own cultural values. If it sticks to those values working within that context to better themselves that would make a world of a difference.
If we look onto someone elses values to better ourselves it just won't work.

The media are influential. Very influential. We just shouldn't let the media make us blind to ourselves.

Friday, December 15, 2006

People are not Books

I like books. I like to own my books. I like to have them on my shelf. To be able to read them whenever I want. My favorite books I like to read over and over again. When the book fades and the pages start tearing I still like them because I like what's inside. I know that I am the only one who read from that specific book. I'm the only one who used my hands to turn the pages.
Even though I like owning my books I still love libraries. There is a wider variety of books. Sometimes I can't find a certain book in the book stores because it is out of sale. The library probably has it. Sometimes I don't want clutter in my house. There is no room for a specific book permenantly in my house. The library is a perfect solution.
In general, with the internet and technology in general I believe one should create a committee for the protection of printed books.
To compare human beings to objects even if they are precious objects like books would be immoral.
However, I found when money and material happiness is the number one target for people. That is what happens. People reduce themselves to objects. That is the beginning of the breakdown of society. People become animals. They do whatever it takes just for money. Like animals in the wild fighting for their "bare necessaties." Bare necessaties being a Jaguar or a penthouse flat or sometimes even just one more shot of heroin.
I recently read an article about the protection of sex workers. There have been recent murders in England of prostitutes. They want to legalize prostitution around the world because it is "a fact of life." This in order to protect the people involved.
The problem with this short sighted view of things is that society is looking at one person instead of looking at how a certain move would affect a society as a whole.
If sex becomes a legal, protected industry what are we telling the society about sex and the value of a human body.
1.By legalizing prostitution, the society is seperating sex and emotions allowing promiscuity to become a norm thus breaking down the family unit.
2. No matter how protected these people are, the worst diseases are spread through sex.
3. Street children, which are a huge problem in third world countries, are partially a product of prostitution. Even if the children who result from prostitution are not in the street, being born from a one night stand and having a father who probably will not own up to you is devestating.
4. With the protection of prostitutes from murder, how can the legalization of prostitution protect the sex workers from themselves? How can it protect them from seeing themselves as more than a body?
5. Will the legalization of prostitution protect these workers from rape? What is the difference between this and rape except that the worker gets money for it?
6. Should everything that is "a fact of life" become legalized? Drugs, murder, mass murder,etc..

One of the women in the article said, "It's my body." Our bodies are the creation of God. He lent them to us to fulfil a certain mission on Earth and then we die. The body goes back to the ground. It becomes dirt once again. This mission is to worship God and guard his land the way he ordered us to.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Theory and Practice

Today I took AbdulRahman to a friend's house. She has a son younger than AbdulRahman by two months. AbdulRahman is 1 year old. So we thought they can play together.
Now AbdulRahman has a biting problem and I thought he only liked to bite me. Today it turns out it wasn't only me!
My friend has 3 children aged 11, 8 and 10 months. AbdulRahman bit the 8 year old on his cheek and kept pulling the 10 month old's hair. Then he bent down and bit the 10 month old's head!!!
So they asked me where did he learn to bite. Honestly, I have NO IDEA!
In theory all the books say you should calmly and repeatedly tell the child to stop what they are doing and show them the positive behavior.
In practice the child totally ignores you and continues to do what he wants.
Plus I have no idea where he learned to pull hair or bite. I don't bite him and pull his hair and he is the oldest from the children he regularly associates with so they didn't teach him either.
I guess you have to choose the system that works with your child because the theoretical stuff you read from books usually do not work.
I have yet to figure out what method will work with AbdulRahman.

Do something with your life

So many women in my situation, educated, married and with a baby always reach a point where they feel their life is monotonous and going no where!
One thing I read alot while I was pregnant was that when the baby comes I have to give myself me time in order to be a good mother. I figured of course I'll do that. But when the baby came I realized that if I don't make time for myself I will end up stuck in a rut. Feed, Bath, Change, Put to sleep.

I needed to exercise all the muscles in my body. Read more. Learn more about my religion. Nurture my whole self. Mind, Body and Soul.
Most of the time we focus on exercise and on intelect forgetting that without the soul the other two are nothing. And without a healthy mind and body the soul in this life isn't too great.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "...certainly in the body there is a lump of flesh which when it is sound the whole body is sound and when it is corrupt the whole body is corrupt. Certainly it is the heart." Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.
Working on your soul means fixing your heart. The way to fix your heart is by nurturing it spiritually. I found that when you work on your relationship with Allah, your heart automatically grows stronger by knowing when to soften up and when to stand strong. You put a goal for yourself which basically can be heaven, pleasing Allah, something along that line. You always remind yourself that all that you go through being a mother has its rewards! Which in turn allows you to be more patient. Then your able to be more patient with regards to your mind and your body too.
Anyhow since my son was born I've been forced to wake up early which gave me much more time throughout the day to fix all aspects of my self as well as work on helping my child have a healthy development. Mentally and Physically.

Who am I

Salam Alaikom!
Inshalla you will be hearing from me sporadically so I figured whoever reads my blog should know who they are reading from...
My name is Sarah Elmeshad and Im 27. I have a son, AbdulRahman who is 3 year old and a daughter, Halima who is 1 and a half. They are quite a handful but one smile from them usually makes it seem easier than it is. Their father is my husband, Karim El-Dib.
I'm a writer. Ever since 5th grade I knew I wanted to become a writer.
I'm from Cairo, Egypt but I live in Alexandria.
I am a Muslim.
At the moment these are the things that influence who I am.