Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why I Don't Go to Halaqas - aka, what's wrong with the way conversion stories are told

And this is *precisely* why I don't go to halaqas and feel extremely uncomfortable there [halaqas are religious gatherings among Muslims. On campus, it's usually a speaker who comes and talks about an Islamic topic. The purpose is to help strengthen the audience's faith]:
Yesterday, I decided to go (and I don't often go but thought, meh, let's give it one more chance). The MSA had invited a speaker to talk about her conversion story. She's a neuroscience professor at a university and a former Irish Catholic who converted several decades ago - you know your religion is correct when a white person, especially if a scientist, converts to it; you know the other religion is wrong if it doesn't "make sense" to the white scientist. Thank God for these white converts - what'd we ever do without them, right?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Singing Pashto songs at an ensemble next week, inshaAllah!

I started the last entry to tell you guys about two good news. The first one was that I'm going to Oman this summer and that my parents have given their blessings for me to do so (may God grant them infinite happiness, good health, and peace - aameen!). I'll be going to continue my Arabic study.

The second one, I didn't get to tell y'all, cuz, you know ... I had lots to say on the first one.

I have my parents’ blessings to go to Oman!

Dear y’all,

I’ve two good news! But they’re so good they feel like a million good news! :) Hamdulillah. First news: I’m going to Oman this summer, and I’ve happily received my parents’ blessings to go! I got the scholarship a while ago, and I really didn’t know how to tell my parents without offending/hurting them because they’d really prefer that I just stay home whenever I can—e.g., when I’m off from school—so they don’t understand why I would go away from them even when I have a moment to spend with them. The last few months, I’ve been getting closer and closer to my parents, and even before we were this close, I, too, preferred to be with them to anything else. And I’m working on that—I’m visiting home as often as I can, I talk to both parents daily, and we’re starting to have longer conversations, alhamdulillah. So I would love, love to spend the summer with them. But I also need to get my Arabic to a more perfect level, and my parents have come to terms with my ambitions :) This means so much to me! And I’m so grateful to them – for what all they’ve had to give up and lose (like other people’s respect :S) just so they can respect my future goals and dreams. May God bless them with a healthy, happy, and long life, both of them, and may they never see any pain ever in their lives. Aameen. I don’t shy away from requesting others to pray for them, either. May the reader’s parents be blessed with peace, happiness, and good health, too, if they’re alive; if not, may they rest in peace, and may they be granted the highest level of paradise (if they believe in heaven). 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Waiting, waiting, and more waiting & other updates

Too many of my days recently have been my waiting for a break ... an opportunity ... a moment to just take a breather. And frankly, I'm tired of it. So no more waiting and more doing instead!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Time management. And stuff.

I haven't been blogging lately because this semester, I've stupidly volunteered myself up for more responsibilities than I can actually handle. Note to self: NEVER DO THIS AGAIN, QRRATUGIYA!! So I'm sorry, blog. I still think about you all the time, though. Every night before I sleep, I tell myself to just write a paragraph of what it's been like the last month or so, but then I find myself hopping into bed and sleeping within minutes. Well, not at always, though, beeeeecuzzzz ... I think about all the things that need to get done the next day. And you know what's stupidly funny? I've so much to do I don't know where to begin so I end up sleeping more to avoid having to do them.

But last week, I discovered a trick: I have to stop thinking in numbers and just see each task as one individual separate task that has to be done. I did this with a couple of things this week, and I got them done surprisingly fast. So the change? Here:

Monday, March 17, 2014

I've lost my grandpa - on death, loss, and guilt

May he rest in peace. 

I've lost my grandpa. He's gone. This beautiful man with a beautiful heart and beautiful service to society is now gone. He was 85 years old, in good health (until the day he felt something wrong and went for a check up and ... well, things went downhill from there, and he passed away while unconscious during/after a surgery), and despite having retired many years ago, he attended a school where he used to teach before because he loved the company, he loved the environment, and he loved the idea of being in the sacredness of an educational institution. The school knew him well, and many of his former students were teachers there now (whom he used to greet/salute with two hands instead of just the right hand, and that meant so much to them ...), and he had a lot of respect there. He said he didn't do it for the money but just to pass some time. He'd walk halfway through and refused to let anyone drive him because he said he needed and enjoyed the exercise. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

From "The Thrival Room": Interfaith Marriage for Muslim Women, the Unavailable Husband, and Kafa'a

Recently, a fabulous group of Muslim Americans launched a fabulous website called The Thrival Rom. There aren't that many Muslim spaces out there that are open to diverse, controversial, non-orthodox, and non-conventional perspectives, so I'm deeply grateful to the Thrival team for not just sharing my voice there but welcome and encouraging it as well. I wish the team and the website much success! May it go far and wide, and may it benefit Muslims and the rest of humanity everywhere. Aameen.
I'll write another blog introducing the website and copying/pasting their "About Me" section, but for now, here's an important message from them: The website is literally, "Your eye into Muslim America. The reality of the world is that there will always be two things that inform opinions – the way things should be and the way things are.There are plenty of websites focused on the way things should be by trying to bring the message of Islam to the world. This website focuses on the way things are for Muslims and telling it like it is." 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Today, I hosted my first party ever!

I love people, I love being around my friends and other good people, and I love my friends. Today (Friday, February 28, 2014), I hosted the party of two incredibly special friends. I have some of the most amazing conversations with them, and we often talk about gender-related issues. So I decided to go all satirical on them and make the decorations ... well, princessy. Everything was pink, including some of the colors of the cake, and even the cake's message was "Happy Birthday, Princess I. and Princess P" (their full names were on the cake, but these are their initals). hahahaha. They totally got it, as did the guests, and we had a fabulous time and great laughter. Alhamdulillah for love, happiness, good friends, and the whole idea of parties!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Make Kakoorri, Ranzokhey, and Raghwani (Recipe) and plain bread or roti - with pictures

The other day, when I wrote about kakoorri (singular: kakorray), which are traditional fried bread  that Pashtuns are crazy about and that my mom makes me every time I visit her and return home, lots of people asked me to give them the recipe. So my mom was gracious enough to make me some more today for me to take pictures of and to write out the recipe in detail while observing.

In the comments to the post, Pashtuns from Khuram call them Ranzokhey, Pashtuns from Waziristan call them Raghwani; and Pashtuns from Dera Ismail Khan, Swabi, Swat, and Peshawar call them kakorri. Hence the title of this post. Do let me know if it turns out that kakorri aren't the same thing as the ones above, ha!

Please understand, though, that it's really hard to give exact measurements for things (like sugar, salt, yeast, etc.) because it really all depends on your taste and because we don't really use measurements. hah. I just ... "know" ... when something's not enough. That sucks, I know, but, yeah.

But please do feel to ask if something looks confusing or if something just doesn't seem right, or if something's not explained properly.  I know exactly how frustrating it can be when a recipe doesn't explain every step properly and in detail.

P.S. From the post below, you'll not just learn how to make kakorri, but you'll also learn how to make Pakistani bread (roti, naan, dodai)!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Punjabi-Pashtun and Pashtun-Punjabi Racism and Hatred in Pakistan

Pre-post: I realize I'm using "Pukhtun" and "Pashtun" interchangeably - because they are the same thing. I don't use "Pathan" because many Pashtuns mind that name and see it as a distortion of the original "Pashtun/Pukhtun."

This is going to be tough to read for those Pukhtuns who are in denial of the fact that the mockery, the racism, the bigotry of the Punjabis against Pashtuns goes both ways: it's not just Punjabis alone who mock Pukhtuns; Pukhtuns mock Punjabis constantly as well. They just do it in different ways.

One of the most popular "discussions" that takes place on Twitter (prolly right after the whole "NO, STUPID! A Pukhtun cannot be a Pakistani! There's no such thing as a Pakistani Pashtun!") is how vicious Punjabis are for mocking Pashtuns. It is true, it is very much true that Punjabis mock Pukhtuns constantly--and not just in the privacy of their homes but also in the media, on national television. But Pukhtuns mock Punjabis all the time just as badly.

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