Category Archives: Reflections

Dear Mom…

By Aruj Sipra

Dear Mom

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.

― George Washington

It has been 19 years since your death and the hardest part till today is whenever I see someone appreciating their moms and I am no longer able to do that in a physical way. No matter what I do to move on from this pain, deep down I always know that I’ll never get to hug you again.

To be honest, there are times when I find myself ashamed at how I have let your memory fade; I no longer remember the sound of your voice.

They say: ‘Time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it does not go away. As a daughter, I miss your protectiveness, encouragement, praise, warmth, and, as I grow older, the bond of an adult-to-adult friendship. There were special times in my life in when I felt your absence more: a wedding celebration and the birth of your grandchildren. This is when the wound gapes open again.

They say: ‘No one else is so uniquely important to the child as a mother who helps her to form an image of herself. With this self-image, a daughter is helped to determine how to interact with the world and the people in this world’. I agree; you have taught me how to be a good listener, to empathize, to support and appreciate all types of people

A mother’s job description can be put as someone willing to nurture, feed and protect while keeping the surrounding area clean and a peaceful environment 365 days a year. Just like a tree you always sheltered me from the harsh realities of life. I would always run towards you if I was in trouble and you would always protect me.  There is always a good and bad side of a picture of being protective. Either you become confident or stay a nincompoop all your life. It took me quite a while to become confident, all thanks to family and friends. If you were alive, you would have been happy to see that your not-so-confident child has turned into a confident lady

Mothers are the backbone of families. Words cannot be put down to express how important you have been to ours. After all, moms take on so much of the responsibility of raising kids and making the family thrive. Mom is the one who always knows what’s really going on in the family, she provides the bulk of nurturing, or she does more than her share of work required to keep a household together. We can understand this only when we become mothers ourselves.

There are some things that I need to tell you — things that I didn’t say when you were with us and lessons which I learned from you.

I love you. I always will. You taught me that the best way to love people was to be genuinely concerned in their well-being and to do things to help others.

I learned that you still have control in your life. Understanding you have control over your emotions and actions is the first step toward overcoming any obstacle. You may not be able to change everything that happens to you in life, but you can change how you react and behave in challenging situations and the direction you choose next.

I learned it’s never truly goodbye, only see you later. I know in my heart my mother will never be gone, even when I’m aging and playing with my grandchildren. As the one person in my life who is irreplaceable, I know she will always be there. So, it is not goodbye, just see you later — until next time.

dua for parents

“My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.” [Quran; Surah Al-Isra, Verse 24]

About the author:

Aruj Sipra is the community manager at MuslimMoms.ca

Every Day Is Mother’s Day

By Rahila Ovais

Every Day Is Mother's Day

‘Paradise lies at the feet of your mother.’

~ Musnad Ahmad, Sunan An-Nasâ’i, Sunan Ibn Mâjah

One of the most quoted sayings of our beloved Prophet (SAWS), this hadith means that if you respect your mother, obey her, love her and take good care of her, you will enter paradise. What can be greater evidence of a mother’s status in Islam than this? Islam places the ultimate reward for human beings in their dedication to their mothers. It puts such an emphasis on the importance of mothers that Mother’s Day is not one day a year but should be everyday.

That is not to say that fathers’ status is any less, in fact Muslims are commanded by Allah and His Prophet (SAWS) to be equally kind and gentle with both parents.

“The greatest sins are to associate partners in worship with Allah, to be undutiful or unkind to one’s parents, to kill a soul forbidden by Allah and to bear false witness.”

~ Sahîh Bukhârî

Recognizing the difficulties and the pain that a mother endures during pregnancy, childbirth and parenting the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) has given precedence to the kind treatment of mothers than that of a father.

A man came to the Prophet (SAWS) and said: O Messenger of Allah! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me?  He replied: “Your mother.” The man asked: Then who? So he replied: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So the Prophet replied again: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: “Then your father.” 

~Sahîh Bukhârî 5971 and Sahîh Muslim 7/2

Allah assigned pregnancy and nursing as purely feminine tasks. He granted women the special talents needed to take care of children. Only with her patience and kindness is she always willing to sacrifice her own comforts for her kids’ needs. Only a mother understands her children’s problems even when they can’t or don’t say anything.

Sallama, the nurse of Ibrahim (AS) who was the third son of Prophet Mohammad (SAWS), said to Him (SAWS): “O Messenger of Allah, you have brought tidings of all good things to men, but not women. He (SAWS) responded, ‘Did your women friends put you up asking me such question?’ to which she replied ‘yes’ then Mohammed (SAWS) replied, ‘Does it not which please anyone of you that if she is pregnant by her husband and he is satisfied with that, she receives the reward of one who fasts and prays for the sake of Allah (SWT)? And when her labor pain comes no one in the heavens or earth knows what is concealed in her womb to delight her? And if she is awake at night by her child, she receives the reward of one who frees seventy slaves for the sake of Allah (SWT)”.

Such is the reward promised to mothers only for doing something that comes so naturally to them. There is no substitute for a mother’s love and we can never repay our mothers for the kindness they endowed upon us while raising us. We can only hope to do the same for our own kids.

Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar saw a Yemeni man performing Tawâf (circumambulating the Ka’bah) while carrying his mother on his back. This man said to Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, “I am like a tame camel for her! I have carried her more than she carried me. Do you think I have paid her back, O Ibn ‘Umar?” Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar replied, “No, not even one contraction!!”

~Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhârî 1/62

May Allah grant us the courage and the patience to reciprocate the same kindness to our parents and especially our mothers.

Supplication for parents

About the Author:

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy

Love That Spans Generations

By Muneezah Jawad 

Love That Spans Generations

Grandparents are the epitome of love. If there was someone on this planet who came close to caring for my children as much as I did, it would be my parents.  There are obvious reasons why maintaining this relationship is important. We all need to know our roots so we are confident of who we are in the world today. Knowing where you came from means you will know where you are going.  That’s important because the world today is not easy. We need as many allies as we can get to help us raise our children according to our values and customs.

Grandparents are the second set of hands you can place your children in safely. If your children are blessed enough to have them in their lives then you need to seize the opportunity and make sure that near or far your kids glean the benefits of their infinite wisdom and affection.

Language and religion

There are many ways to grow and strengthen the bond if grandparents live nearby or with you. I’ve often heard complaints that kids don’t speak their mother tongue. Well Nana can teach his grandchildren to speak, read and even write it. Some of the funniest and most endearing moments I have seen is my father trying to understand my niece’s very strong British accent and her rolling her mouth trying to form sounds that just don’t come out right. It’s amusing but it is valuable education and we must not allow our children to lose their heritage.

It’s also becoming an increasing concern that kids are not receiving enough religious education. Your children can practice their Quran lessons with them,  learn Duas, Surah’s, Seerah and pray with them as well.

Our elders are a well of religious knowledge.  They make religious occasions such as Ramadan and Eid extra special.  Our daily lives are more enriched because they help us instill those small little Sunnahs that they know, into our daily routines.

Hobbies

Several skills are slowly being lost as generations move on. Grandma can teach the kids how to knit that perfect scarf. If grandpa is a whiz a chess, hours of fun can be had. Watching the little seed they planted together sprout in to a tomato builds a sense of achievement.  It encourages bonding and is educational. It also keeps grandpa active, physically and mentally as the elderly often find themselves with a ton of spare time and no way to pass it. It also makes them feel useful and prevents depressions as often they can feel frustrated as age takes away many of their former abilities. My grandmother, brother and I spent hours playing card games and she would sew clothes for my Barbies.

Love That Spans Generations

If they are not well, then the best gift you can give your child is the gift of nurturing. What better way for them to earn sawab then to help their grandparents.  Simple things like getting them water and running small errands means the world to ailing grandparents.  This teaches them that we must learn to care for, respect and help the elderly and not let them become lonely.

Advances in technology such as viber, skype, FaceTime etc. enable us to be in touch with family on a daily basis if they live far away. You should set up a time when the child and grandparent each spend time online with each other doing much of the same things as above and sharing their daily lives. If they aren’t tech savvy, encourage letter writing and phone calls. Call on all special occasions, have the kids make handmade cards, pictures or crafts and send those. These things are more precious to grandparents than store bought things. The grandparent can be your child’s newest and best pen pal. You must also make it a priority to try to visit as often as is possible within your own constraints.

Share your loss

I lost my mother a few years ago.  My elder children had the pleasure of knowing her and remember her but my little one who was only two at the time has almost forgotten her.  It’s important to keep their memory alive. Talk about them frequently. Discuss their likes and dislikes; show them pictures, especially if it’s with the grandkids. 

Maybe your daughter has inherited her grandmother’s curly locks? Maybe your son has a fascination about planes like his Nana? Pass down that secret recipe for that very special Haleem only your mom could make. Share the little quirks they had, my mom loved to collect table cloths and comforters, it was a family joke. All these things connect the generations in the family and paint a memorable picture.

Don’t hide your tears from your kids. If you miss your parents and become mournful don’t hide it. Let your children know that someone very special and vital has left your life and that you cherished them. Of course don’t traumatize the kids but show them that you are human too and that family and heritage is of utmost value.

In these times, where technology is able to keep us more in touch with each other, I find that people are actually moving apart.  The relationship between grandparent and grandchild has stood the test of time. It’s unconditional and selfless love. We must make the effort to make sure our children reap the benefits as ultimately they have the most to gain. Whether it’s your parents or your in laws, regardless of how your own relationship is with them, the winner will always be your child and the prize will always be love.

About the author:

Muneezah Jawad is the Social Media Manager at MuslimMoms.ca

Let us know how you make sure your kids stay close to their grandparents. Share your thoughts and ideas.

To My Future Son-in-law (And Daughter)

By Rahila Ovais

To My Future Son-in-law (And Daughter)

As I think of my daughter’s future, I can’t help but also think of the person who will be the man of her life.  From the day that she came into my life, I stare at her and think of how perfect she is to me. I stare at her and imagine her growing into a young adult and then I envision giving her away to you as your wife and accept you as my son-in-law.  I don’t know you yet, I don’t even know who you are right now or who my daughter will choose to be her life partner, but I hope and pray that you are a God fearing man and a practicing Muslim who will make my daughter a better Muslimah too.

She has been raised like a princess by her father and I and her upbringing might be somewhat similar but also very different than how things are done in your family.  So be kind to her and give her the time to adjust to her new life with you.  She has been daddy’s precious little princess in her home for 20 years or so and I hope that you will treat her as the queen of your house.  Your understanding will make it easier for both of you as you both define your own set of rules on how you want to do things together.  She is leaving her room, her house, her siblings and her friends to live with you. It will take her some time to learn how things are done in your house and to bond with your family; I hope that you will be patient with her during that time.

I hope that you will always be honest with her because without trust you will lose her. Even if it’s the little things or the little white lies that may seem harmless to you at the time.

She is leaving her life behind to start a new one with you, I hope that you both will respect your differences and celebrate the similarities together for many years to come.  She will be always on your side building your family home together with you and then raising your family with you, I hope you will treat her as an equal partner of your team.

Our daughter, your wife, will become the mother of your kids. I hope that you won’t let her lose her own identity in the process whether she choses to pursue her career or be a homemaker.  Always put her first because she will always put your needs before herself.

Forgive her often and whole-heartedly as she learns to manage your lives together. She will not always be perfect; she will burn dinner sometimes or forget there is no more milk in the house. Pick up the slack for her when she is over-whelmed. Trust me; she will be ever so grateful for your little acts of kindness.

Take the time to tell her how much she means to you.  While you both are trying to figure each other out, I hope that you will be over communicative with her so she can learn your likes and dislikes without guessing games.

You are your mother’s son and she will always be your mother.  Only you will have to find how to keep a balance between your mother and your wife.  I promise that my daughter will always respect your mother but I hope that you will always be on her side too and just be there for her even at times when you don’t have a solution.  Don’t compare her to your mother.

Dear son-in-love, take care of my daughter. As I give her hand into yours, I am giving you a piece of my heart with great trust and expectations. I pray that you both have a successful happy married life together.

About the Author:

Rahila Ovais is a Pharmacy Technician working at the Ontario College of Pharmacists. A mother to four, she’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself.

Image: 123RF

Appreciate Nature, Meditate Outdoors

By Jasmine S Kaur

Appreciate Nature

Can you watch and listen to nature? Yes, you can just by being aware and present in the moment. Nature is very healing and calming. Just being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. With spring coming up, we can head outdoors more often and make the best of this wonderful weather.

Outdoors in nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well being as well. In addition, nature helps us cope with any pain or depressed feelings. Because we find trees, plants, water, and other nature elements absorbing with their colors, we tend to be absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort. Have you ever considered watching a tree for a minute and all the messages it can give you in any form?

Nature is good for our health and well-being as it helps us to be happier, healthier and relaxed. The perfect method for all of us is to add couple of minutes to enjoy outdoors in nature as a daily routine. There are countless studies for the links between time spent outdoors for our mental, physical, and emotional development.

Enjoying outdoors can reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and stress levels. Exposure to nature can help you sleep well and increase your energy, it also links to boost your immune system as what you are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment in nature is not only changing your mood but how your body systems are working. Meditations done in nature have additional healing benefits.

Next time you are in nature try these simple two types of meditations:

Open your eyes, take in Nature

Time spent in nature can always be a form of meditation when we put our full attention on what is around us — the earth, trees, flowers, animals/birds, fresh air and the breeze.

Simply observe and experience the colours, shape, sounds and other movements of nature. Observe them without looking for any meaning and expectations and simply experiencing it – have an open awareness and you will be surprised and grateful for everything around you.

Nature Meditation

Eyes closed, senses alert

Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down outside. Begin with a few deep breaths and close your eyes to be in the present moment. Now bring your awareness to everything that you can experience in your surroundings. Feel the temperature of the air on your skin, the feeling of the breeze and the sun. Listen and focus on sound only. Let your awareness be with all the sounds in the environment, noticing them in great detail. You can also focus on one particular sound, such as that of flowing water, wind blowing or birds singing and all other nature sounds – you will be able to hear many magical sounds in seconds. Listen to the symphony of nature. Continue to experience these feelings and sounds and find yourself peacefully connected to nature.

With the busy lives that many of us lead, taking time to get outside may seem difficult. But it’s easier than you think. Go for a walk or run outdoors. Use your lunch break to get out of the office and visit a nearby green space. Find a nice leafy tree and read a book in the shade. Take time to slow down, breathe, watch, and listen and try simple natural meditations in nature.

About the author:

Following her core passions of spirituality, self care teachings and fitness, Jasmine S Kaur was chosen and certified as a Kundalini Yoga Teacher from KRI Level 1 International Teacher Training Program. She is an expert yogini,coach for mothers, speaker and a daughter, sister, wife, and mother of three precious children.

She is the founder of a self-care center for mothers, busy but balanced womenpreneurs and owner of Aquarian Corporate Yoga (). She practices strong self care techniques and is proud to learn and teach them in her classes, workshops, one-on-one, events and conferences.

 

Images: 123RF

The Nature of Things: Appreciate Grass On Your Side Of The Fence

By Khaula Mazhar

he Nature of Things: Appreciating Grass On Your Side Of The Fence

Being a nature geek I often find it hard to fathom the general population’s complaints about the weather, their distrust of large animals, and extreme opinions regarding naturally occurring edibles for example, vegetables. Allow me to elucidate this for you.

Let it snow

Hello, we live in Canada. What were you expecting? Snow is great, yes I admit I don’t shovel the driveway and I don’t have to commute for over sixty minutes to get to work in the cold and dark. I stumble to the table with a hot cup of tea and flick on my laptop. Honestly, I do sympathize with the people who face a certain amount of turmoil when Mother Nature decides to dump three feet of snow on us, but snow is awesome. Next time it snows, bundle up the kids and go sledding. It is so much fun! Besides it is a great way to get some exercise and work off those extra calories that have started showing very visibly around the waistline. Look at it this way, what if you lived in Nagano, Japan?

Nagano, Japan

Aren’t you glad this isn’t your street?

Who let the dogs out?

Most desi people are not big fans of dogs and that is fine. Except when they jump off the sidewalk and into traffic to avoid a canine walking by. People get a hold of yourselves! No matter what you believe, that dog is not out to get you, dogs just have HAS (hyperactive affection syndrome).  They are naturally overly affectionate creatures who believe that it is their duty to shower love on everyone they pass on the street. If you don’t want to receive this affection, rather than leap to certain death on a busy lane, I suggest you don’t make eye contact with the dog. Ignore them completely, most dogs will be dejected and that puts a damper on their mood, subduing them considerably.  Unless of course you live in a neighborhood with dogs like this….

giant dog

…in which case I suggest you move without further ado because it’ll be kind of hard to ignore something that gargantuan.

BIG bugs, why Mother Nature, why?

Butterflies? Beautiful! Moths? Like little fairies in the night. Ladybugs? Adorable. Bees? Ummm honey.  Ants…well ok, as long as they stay outside. Spiders? Get my shot gun.

Nature lover or not, even I draw the line here. Dang Girl could you not have created something less ….leggy? Go forth all of you with dusters and vacuums and rid your house of these critters! Keep them from coming back by spraying with this handy and (mostly) natural repellent:

DIY Natural Bug Repellent

  • 5 drops of citrus, citronella, tea tree or lavender oil
  • 5 drops of dishwashing liquid (the lemon scented one is supposed to work best)
  • 1 quart water

Mix it all up and keep it in a spray bottle.

Spray in corners etc once a week or as needed.

That being said we should still look on the positive side. This is not Brazil, home of the Brazilian wandering spider…

Spider

Oh I’m sorry, did I just insure you will never be able to sleep again?

Produce of the land

Greasy, meaty ethnic food are all great. If, however, you want to live past 45 you really need to start integrating green stuff into your diet. Here the guilty party is comprised mainly of the male species who think that coriander or some other fresh ‘green’ herb used as a garnish, sufficiently covers the vegetable department. Well gentlemen, it doesn’t.

This section of nature is highly under appreciated. Vegetables are so versatile, so light and fresh, so delicious.  The fact that loki ki bujia doesn’t exactly bring joy to anyone’s heart can be overlooked as Canada has such a wide variety of veggies.  Salad is the best thing that can happen to your dining table. So is steamed broccoli with melted butter. Or corn on the cob. Or creamed spinach. I could go on forever, don’t even get me started on celery! Besides that you can still find all your traditional favorites at the local store.

stir fry

So really you have the best of both worlds. You just have to open your eyes to see that the grass is pretty green on your side of the fence.

About the author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Images: 123RFShinshusnow.comBBC.Co.UKDeviant Art

Fifty Shades Of What The Hell?

By Khaula Mazhar

Parents Say No!

 

We wanna make sure they get the right information, Mr. Speaker.

 ~ Kathleen Wynne to the Speaker of the House in response to MPP McNaughton’s question on the new sex ed. curriculum consultations.

 

What is that right information? I really ‘wanna’ know and I am sure other parents would like to be enlightened as well. We would like to know how can you be more concerned with our child’s safety than us. If this is such a concern for you, why was everything so hush-hush?

Maybe because the new curriculum is going to be pretty much the same one that was proposed in 2010?  Then it would make perfect sense because children in grade one really need a graphic lesson on sexual body parts. They will need it to… let’s see…be prepared for when they …when they what? They are in grade 1. The only concern a six year old has is getting a snack on time. That is the only concern they should have. How about teaching them in depth about the digestive system? Eating and pooping is something they have been doing every day, they should learn all about that first.

As for stranger danger, you don’t need to show six year olds pictures of organs to explain to them strangers shouldn’t be touching them. If a stranger comes up and touches them anywhere they need to yell their little heads off.

A class full of little kids, together, showing them pictures of something we parents go through so much trouble teaching them to keep private! ‘Remember your bodies are private and if someone makes you uncomfortable…?’ So now private parts aren’t private?

Yes I am aware that there is a lot of information on the internet. My question is why a six year old would doing online unattended in the first place?

Which brings me to the conclusion that you consider the majority of us parents to be mentally incompetent. Parents have this ‘talk’ with their kids when they feel the time is right. In accordance with their religious and cultural beliefs which are to be respected, because it is everyone’s right. Remember rights? You are all about rights, so please stop shoving your opinions down our throats. But you don’t think we can parent our own kids, so you are assigning this job to teachers. Who gave you the right to take away our rights?

Please spare me your logic, I experienced this first hand last year with my daughters. The teacher gave a lesson and conveniently crossed it off her list. Where the hell was she when the little demons of sexual curiosity were running rampant in the different corners of the class? Where was she when a little girl told my daughter she was going to “shove a pencil up my v—–?” And the dozens of other little horrifying discussions my daughters brought home, that the teacher did not care to listen in on and clarify in the class. All this after the ‘sex ed’ class. Thanks teachers, I appreciate how you totally defecated and I had to scoop your poop.

But you know exploring bodies and feelings and sex is okay and just the thing to discuss with six year olds because you want to encourage them to be masturbating by grade six and having anal sex by grade seven because we all know they aren’t going to practice abstinence. God forbid that.  Seriously grade eight girls pushing for learning about consent? Why are grade eight girls concerned about consent? Why are kids in grade eight having sex?

So we might as well teach them how to fool around in a way they don’t end up with an unwanted pregnancy. How about we teach them all about the reality of having a baby? If they knew what the hell women go through to bring life into this world maybe they would realize sex is not just fun and games to be experienced with a number of different partners the second they get the chance. It comes with a responsibility to take care of one another. It is a beautiful thing to be experienced at the right time, yet it has been degraded into something low and cheap. It has lost its value.

But we want a modern society, not a backward one. And a modern society is all about sex and being absolutely uninhibited, just as it was at the height of many empires throughout history. That should be the only thing on our young generation’s mind all the time. Never mind that the downfall of the Greek and Roman civilizations came about when their society became obsessed with sex. It’s not like history ever repeats itself.

About the author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Suggested reading:

A Tale of Three Empires 

Downfall of American Civilization

Global Views on Premarital Sex

Pakistan-India Cricket Match, Just A Game?

By Aruj Sipra

Cricket World Cup 2015

I grew up in a country where cricket is the main sporting event and a match between arch rivals India and Pakistan virtually becomes a matter of life and death. As the Cricket World Cup is about to begin and both teams face each other in their very first match of the tournament, I have already started to feel the heat as the event and trash talk among fans has generated some sparks! The match day is celebrated like some festival – Families and friends get together, flags, streamers are all up and not to forget the food delicacies that are served.  In fact, it is party time whether we watch the game on TV in the comfort of our homes or in the stadium.

Originating in England somewhere in 15th century, cricket has become the heart and soul of the Indian Subcontinent where three countries India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been crowned as the World Champions. It is clichéd to say people from the subcontinent are crazy about cricket, but truth is that they have few alternatives. Despite having an inferior infrastructure, the subcontinent has produced some astounding cricketers emerging from remote areas of the country and making their name in international arena.

Cricket World Cup 2015

The Cricket World Cup 2015 will be the 11th one, scheduled to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 14th February to 29th March, 2015.  The last time they hosted was the Benson and Hedges World Cup in 1992.

This time there are 49 matches spread over 43 days, 14 teams and an estimated global TV audience of over 1 billion; it is of course dwarfed by the Olympics or the Soccer World Cup.

The India–Pakistan cricket match is scheduled for Sunday February 15 in Adelaide. It will start at 2pm local time, 10 pm EST on Saturday February 14, for those in this part of the world. It is going to be one intense match!

The last time India-Pakistan played each other, it was referred to as ‘The Mother of all Battles’ and India triumphed on that day. Pakistan has never won a World Cup fixture against India, who has won all the five games since they first met in 1992. Let’s see how these two teams again stand before this battle begins!

Cricket World Cup 2015

The upcoming India-Pakistan match has been estimated to attract up to three hundred million television viewers, according to TV ratings firm Initiative. I was surprised to read that Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be sitting with Kapil Dev in the commentary box for this game. Pakistan will have Shoaib Akhtar as their commentator for this match. The Indians sure know how to boost their team and their viewership rating.

Now how do we react while watching the match? Emotions run high every time the South Asian neighbors clash on a cricket ground. Many of their fans would not mind their team crashing out from the World Cup early, providing they beat their neighbours.  They say that a match is not over till the last ball has been bowled. Spectators in the stadium and the audience watching on the television tend to get nervous .Their blood pressure starts to rise. They get fidgety. They sit at the edge of their seats, one hand gripping a rosary, while another holding a handkerchief for the sweat, or tears to come. This means patience is paramount for any fan and true enough, patience surely gets tested in this encounter.

Coming back to the teams, if there is a team in world cricket that defies the odds, confounds expectations and regularly pulls a superlative display out of its bag of mixed tricks, it has to be Team Pakistan.

Team India has its strength in its batting lineup. Since the recent changes in rules tend to favor the batsman rather than the bowler, India would have an edge provided their batting clicks on the day.

Imran Khan, the Pakistan captain who led Team Pakistan to its first and thus far only World Cup, predicted that ‘The team that is going to win is the one that does its homework the best by studying its opponents.’

India has won two World Cups, in 1984 and 2011, and Pakistan just once in 1992. Most of the senior players have retired and both teams are relatively young having their strengths and weakness but that will not stop their hunger for becoming the World Champions once again. As fans and spectators we should encourage our teams and enjoy the game and the big event regardless of the outcome. Remember it is just a GAME!

About the author:

Aruj Sipra is the Community Manager at MuslimMoms.ca. She’s been a die-hard cricket fan since childhood. She writes on cricket and the World Cup as a tribute to her father, the late Imtiaz Sipra, a renowned sports journalist and the Sports Editor of ‘The News.’ He had toured Australia and New Zealand with the Pakistani team in 1992 for the very same tournament that saw Pakistan win the cup in a thrilling and dramatic fashion.

Images: ICC Cricket/WorldCup

What I Got Out Of Wearing Hijab

By Rahila Ovais

World Hijab Day

It’s been nearly 5 years since I started wearing hijab. I cover up whenever I am out of the house without my husband. He doesn’t like me with hijab yet but I hope and pray that if I continue with determination, he will also come to terms with it.

To me, hijab is not just that piece of cloth covering my hair. It took a complete overhaul of my closet. It’s a constant reminder of what it means to be a Muslim. It’s a continuous prompt that I must also always make sure of all the little things that are required of me, to pray on time, not to indulge in gossip, not to lie, not to listen to music to name a few.

I remember the first day when I walked into my work with my hijab on, I was ready for a few weird looks and a lot of questions. It was to my uttermost surprise that there were no weird looks; in fact most of my coworkers complimented me. Few had questions, like what made me decide to wear hijab after all these years. To them my answer was simple “because I have to, my religion prescribes it for me, and because I want to set a good example for my girls and if not now, when?”

It was interesting to note that my coworkers were more supportive than family! My family is a reflection of modern day Muslim. It is a general opinion on my husband and in-laws’ side that we don’t have to dress a certain way to be identified as a good Muslim, a sentiment I agree with. Wearing a hijab does not really qualify you as a Good Muslim but for me it has certainly enabled me to learn more and practice more of my religion without imposing it on others around me.

Nonetheless, I was overwhelmed with the amount of support I received from my colleagues and friends at work. I once went to work, I had taken a shower in the morning and my hair wasn’t completely dry before I put my hijab on. Around lunch time at work I ended up with a headache, so I just mentioned to my co-worker. She said “why don’t you take off the hijab and let your hair dry completely and I will stay guard and make sure that none of the male coworkers walk in.” I was absolutely moved by her support!

During an event at work, I couldn’t believe how many pleasant encounters I had. There was an Egyptian lady, when I greeted her in the morning, she automatically replied with a Salam. Another Muslim Pakistani gentleman said Salam and automatically lowered his gaze while he spoke to me. Hijab is my identity now. No one has to wonder and ask me what my background is or where I am from. They see me as a Muslim and that is enough. Yet another older Muslim lady, who had met me before in my non-hijab wearing days had a hard time recognizing me, nevertheless when she did she said “MashaAllah you look good. Pray for me too”. I replied “InshaAllah, you never know when you will be inspired and Allah will grant you Tawfeeq (inspiration)”.

Before I started taking hijab I used to look at all other hijabi sisters with respect and admiration and wished I could be as strong and brave as them, I used to ask them to pray for me too that Allah gives me Hidaya (guidance).

Inspiration came to me in many ways. I had attended a lecture during my last pregnancy and the lecturer described how a woman when she gives birth becomes as pure as the baby. The way she described it gave me goose bumps and sent chills down my spine. I wished I had been enlightened earlier.

But honestly, come to think of it, donning the hijab has made me more confident, more assured and contrary to popular belief, Hijab has given me more independence.

World Hijab Day

About the author:

Rahila Ovais is a Pharmacy Technician working at the Ontario College of Pharmacists. A mother to four, she’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago.

 

Image: SalamStock

#PeshawarRemembered

By Rahila Ovais

Peshawar Remembered

It’s been 40 days since that dreadful event took place in Peshawar, Pakistan – the day when a pack of cold-blooded barbarians attacked a school full of kids. Scores of mothers, just like you and me, had sent their sons to school that day. Little did they know, that when they waved good bye to their loved ones that day, it would be their last farewell.

The news of this massacre made international headlines. Not only Paksistan but the whole world was outraged, and grieved with those mothers and families in Peshawar. Nonetheless the next morning millions of mothers continued with their life as they woke their kids to get ready for another day at school. Oh the guilt of carrying on with our lives as our sisters still grieved!

We talked about this dreadful event in the days that followed. While we deliberated the emotional trauma of the event, we also discussed the political aspects as well as the religious facets. We paid tributes to the teachers who died trying to defend their students. We lauded the Pakistani army and their families for their sacrifices for their country. 

Mothers around the world especially Pakistani moms abroad struggled to explain this loss to their own kids as they carried out normal day to day tasks. How do you explain such a tragedy to your four year old or your ten year old or even your teenager when you don’t understand it yourself? Who were those terrorists who attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar? How can anyone attack a school and how heartless does one have to be to take a child’s life, point blank? 

There have been previous incidents in the world where schools were taken hostage, albeit none as repulsive and shocking as this attack in Peshawar. Words are not enough to condemn this act of terrorism and violence by those who have hijacked our religion. No one will ever forget this act of savagery in its true form. No one will ever forget the loss of those mothers and families. Time does not wait for any one and life goes on as we continue to mourn this momentous loss of lives, of our future. 

It’s been 40 days since that horrific event when humanity died. As we remember and mourn the loss of those precious lives, lets pray for safety and peace for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan. Let’s pray that they come out of this tragedy stronger and ever more united. Today, as we relate to the pain and heartache of the loss of these mothers, let’s pray that we can stand stronger together against all evil and be unanimous in our condemnation of everyone who hijacks our beautiful faith to further their nefarious aims.

About the author:

Rahila Ovais is a Pharmacy Technician working at the Ontario College of Pharmacists. A mother to four, she’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago.