Author: bushrak05

Enriched through International Travel

This is a piece written about me from an organization called Mobility International USA. I love the work they do to ensure the rights of people with disabilities.

“From her experiences in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Bushra has learned a thing or two about traveling with a physical disability. She understands that planning for medications, bathroom breaks, and navigating the airports can make the overall experience go more smoothly.“I leave my house as early as possible. For example at the airport if I need a wheelchair, I have to get there earlier than usual just to be sure I’ll get the assistance I need. Sometimes the wheelchair doesn’t arrive early and I fear I may be late for my flight.”

Source: Enriched through International Travel

Lessons from a long week

This has definitely been one hell of a week. First of all, this has been the hardest Ramadan of my life. I’ve finally begun to understand what it feels like to be a convert to some extent because of feeling alone. It’s not easy being alone or being around people whom you expect to know everything about you. I really am not sure I’m gaining any benefits from Ramadan like I used to and I don’t know what to do about it. It’s just making me sad.  Then again a lot happened in the past few days that made me rethink my relationship with this month.

The next thing that happened was that Muhammad Ali died. His funeral was in Ramadan, having died just days before it.  This went from shock, to denial, to sadness, to appreciation for everything I could have possibly learned from his life and death. Muhammad Ali was the ultimate example of our time of what a Muslim should be. I can not stress this enough. In every single interview I’ve watched of him, he mentioned something about God and his desire to reach Heaven.  I honestly think that no one in this entire world got a send off the way he did. No one else really deserves that great of a send off, to be honest.  I was so proud that he firmly stood for his beliefs in life and death. I was so proud that for once an Islamic view was on television that showed prayers, not violence, which was on tv for two days. There was absolutely no report about violence in those two days.  He made sure that he got a proper Islamic funeral (Janazah) and that everyone could see Islam for what it really is. He openly spoke of his faith no matter the consequences.  His wife mentioned in her speech during the Memorial that Muhammad Ali wanted his funeral to be a teaching moment and that’s exactly what it was.

As a Muslim, Muhammad Ali’s death reminded me of a story of when the Prophet (PBUH) himself died. The gist of it was that a companion, Umar (rA) came out in the street so emotional and was shouting that whoever said the Prophet had died, Umar wanted to kill. Then another companion, Abu Bakr (rA) came out and had to calm him down and remind him that The Prophet was just a man and that God was alive and could never die. This story reminded me that people die, no matter how great they are. I honestly for a time I didn’t think Muhammad Ali could die. I was just like, he’s fine, nothin’s gonna happen. Boy, did I get my reality check last week.

Everyone knew how proud Muhammad Ali was of his identity. They knew how much he stood up for it as well. He stood up for who he was no matter the consequences.  This is not easy even to this day.  He also never threw himself a pity party because of his illness. Unfortunately, this was the type of person I used to be. I never used to let things get to me. I say “unfortunately” because now I do let those things get to me.  I used to be called “Brave” and “strong” and a “fighter”.  I actually hated being called those things.  Now, I’m realizing that those adjectives were a part of who I am. I’ve only just forgotten.  Muhammad Ali has now made a final attempt to make sure that kids who want to quit, don’t.  It’s not easy picking up the pieces to your life when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, but Muhammad Ali did it when he came back after he had to quit boxing for 3 years.  He reminded me that if he can do it, so can anyone else.

With all the diverse groups of people watching both his Janazah and his Memorial either on a live stream video or from actually being there, I’m reminded of one final lesson from Muhammad Ali that resonated with me.  His wife acknowledged all the diverse groups of people and one of the speakers, a university student named Natasha (whose speech I loved), mentioned that Muhammad Ali would help anyone who needed it whether they were Muslim, Christian, Jewish, disabled, able-bodied, white, black, or LGBT.  Muhammad Ali wanted to leave one final message of peace regarding his religion. This reminds me of the verse in the Qur’an (49:13) that says, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”  All Muhammad Ali wanted was for people to get along and for everyone to be happy in their own skin no matter what.

This brings me to the events that unfolded just two days after his memorial service.  It’s very frustrating that Muhammad Ali spent his entire life refuting violence and promoting peace and just two days later someone commits an act of violence against people in a gay club.  No matter what someone’s views are, killing is wrong period.  Muhammad Ali would not have stood for this and neither should anyone else. If someone kills one person it’s as if he’s killed all of humanity, if he saved one person it’s as if he’s saved all of humanity (Qur’an 5:32).   The one thing I was quite proud of and quite relieved of was how the general public handled the situation. I was expecting tons of hateful comments on various social media outlets, but I didn’t see any! Literally, like none. I did see discussions regarding gun control, but I’m not getting into that.  When I woke up this morning and saw the news, my initial reaction was sadness that this had to happen in the wake of a funeral of a man who represented peace and tolerance and also how much backlash this would cause. Hopefully, in the coming weeks it doesn’t cause any. It seems that social media are doing what Muhammad Ali would’ve wanted and acknowledging that the actions of a few don’t determine the whole.  This is only the beginning of the struggle for peace and learning from one another, but hopefully Muhammad Ali’s legacy remains.  Muhammad Ali defended his religion and promoted peace for everyone til his funeral.  In light of recent events, in addition to praying for peace and for the lives lost, we as an American people should remember the lessons of an American icon. Muslims can’t stress this enough, but if we want to see peace it’s not enough to say peaceful words or even blog about them, we need to live them.  Actions speak louder than words.  No one knew this better than Muhammad Ali. ‘On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (ra) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, “Whoso- ever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”’ Muhammad Ali changed evil with his actions and his words. He lived and died showing peace for all communities.  Even if condemning one act of violence after another gets exhausting, there is no way I will never stop fighting violence with love because that is what Muhammad Ali did and that’s what made him The Greatest.  Muhammad Ali taught us lessons of peace for all communities including LGBT and various religions.  So if someone asks me how I’m handling the latest crisis, I’ll just tell them to think of The Champ.  Maybe thinking of him and all the peace I could create in this world will help make Ramadan easier for myself.

**I welcome discussion on this or any of my blogposts.

No Ood

ood

Yup, this pretty much sums up Ramadan. My friend sent it to me and I thought it was funny.  Although, no liquid is allowed at all not even Coca Cola. Also there are more requirements than not eating or drinking all day. One must be nice to others as well and abstain from other things they shouldn’t be doing. Lol this pic cracked me up!

The current election

Ok I honestly thought I would get out of blogging about this whole situation, but I can’t. 1. Trump is a douche, everyone knows that….He can’t figure out who Muslim American sports heroes are (Muhammad Ali RIP). 2. Hillary, well I can’t even right now. All I can think about is a popularity contest and she thinks she can win because she’s a girl. I will have much to say shortly about female leaders in the countries she wishes to “liberate” I can just give a LIST of female leaders in Muslim countries, enough said. 3. Bernie Sanders-He’s The Man. That’s all I got. So being an up and coming Doctor Who enthusiast, I found it funny when an avid fan of DW that happens to be a friend of mine sent me this: potato

That’s it. Strax for President! Holy crap we would all have to deal with his random urges for annihilation.  He would need Madame Vastra & The Doctor to calm his urges.

All I have to say is this: Rather than thinking of annihilation and thinking about “liberating other countries” Let’s just take a look at the fact that Muslim countries have already had female leaders.  America having the first female president, aint got nothin on these women:

  1. Benazir Bhutto-Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
  2.  Megawati Sukarnoputri-Former president of Indonesia
  3. Sheikh Hasina-Prime Minister of Bangladesh
  4. Khalida Zia-She was the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2006. She was the first woman in Bangladesh’s history and second in the Muslim world (after Benazir Bhutto) to head a democratic government.
  5. Atifete Jahjaga- Not only is she the current President of Kosovo, she is also the first female President, the first female head of state in the modern Balkans and the youngest to be elected to the office.
  6. Tansu Çiller-Turkey’s first and only female prime minister to date, this academician and economist served as the Prime Minister of Turkey from 1993 to 1996.
  7. Mame Madior Boye-Former Prime Minister of Senegal
  8. Aminata Touré-Former Prminister of Senegal
  9. Cissé Mariam Kaïdama Sidibé-Former Prime Minister of Mali
  10. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim-The recently appointed president of Mauritius. She is the Head of State and Commander in Chief  as well.

I may add that many of these women are covered. Who says covered women are oppressed? These are just a few time Muslim women kicked ass.

Ramadan has come

So it’s the best time of the year for Muslims officially. It’s taken me a few days to actually blog about it.  I feel like I must post food pictures.  Ironically, in Ramadan, Muslims are Not supposed to eat all day, but all we think about is food.  There is the usual stuff, like thinking about the poor, giving charity, worship and all that.  However, food is also an integral part.  This food brings people together as Ramadan should.  It’s probably the only time of the year I actually have to make it a point in my family to eat dinner with my parents. Sad, I know, but that’s life.  I’ve decided I will be posting a series of Ramadan posts, either reminders, or songs that I like and Especially the food I may decide to make.  One such food plate is what my family traditionally makes in Ramadan.  You see, Muslims come from all walks of life, which for me is the best part.  We all break our fast as Muslims but we have our own traditional foods.  My family is originally from Pakistan, so that means FRIED FOOD YAY!!!!! I’m so happy! I told myself I wouldn’t eat fried food all month, so much for that idea! hahah!  I made a fruit salad which we call Fruit Chaat. It’s basically a bunch of fruit cut up and juice poured in a bowl, any kind of juice will do but I use Orange.  Only a little will do. I also put black peppar, sugar and chaat masala.  I don’t always put the latter because it causes heart burn unfortunately.  The rest is my favorite fried food, we make these wontons called samosa, some people make them from scratch with actual dough but I don’t, I make them using wontons. Makes it so much easier!  I fill them with either ground beef or potato and a bunch of spices.  The BEST are my pakoras. A pakora is like a hashbrown, it’s made with chickpea flour mixed in water and a bunch of spices and I like to add either potato or chicken and then I deep fry the pakora and samosa.  I like to side it with some chutney which I make with mint.  I also have dates and nimbo panni which is basically limeade.  This is like the best iftar anyone could ask for.  This is why we need to remember the poor who can not afford this every single day.food

Story of Prayer

This is about the Night Journey & Ascension. In this night the Prophet (PBUH) led all the Prophets in prayer and ascended to the heavens the result of which, the five prayers were mandated obligatory on all Muslims. This falls on the 27th night of the Islamic month of Rajab which this year falls on May 5th starting tonight.  Even if there’s no obligation to celebrate this night, people still remember it.  The Night Journey started with the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) mounting an animal called Al-Buraq and going to the “farthest mosque” which is Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.  This being the 3rd holiest site in Islam.  There He lead all the other prophets in prayer being the leader of the Prophets.  Afterwards He (PBUH) ascended to the heavens where He was given the mandate by God to pray.  As the story goes, He (PBUH) was told to pray 50 times and then as He left he spoke with Moses (upon whom be peace) who told Him (PBUH) that 50 is too much go get it reduced.  So He kept going back and forth between God and Moses getting it reduced up to 5 which was the final reduction because the Prophet was too embarrassed to go back again.  So there it was, the story of how we as Muslims began praying 5x/day.

I pass by this story every year and for some reason this year it’s resonating with me more.  Last week I went to Jummah with my dad and it was different from other Jummahs I’ve experienced.  After Jummah we went to the market and saw Muslims just hanging out and having lunch they way they do after prayer.  This simple act really made me feel at home in the community.  This made me feel proud of my community as a whole.  We went to a mosque that had a diverse community and I Love seeing the diversity and unity that resides within Islam.  You really see this through the community spirit of praying.  On this night we remember our community spirit as a whole as well as the reminder that prayer is also there if we are struggling with something in our lives and if we aren’t be thankful.  Prayer is one of the focal points of Islam and this is a part of how it began.  Thinking about this story makes me wish I could one day see the spot where the Prophet ascended to the heavens.  When I was in Makkah and Medina last year, I was reminded that these were the places where the Prophet stepped.  This is where it all began.  Days like these and days like Jummah where I can see the community at finest make me so happy and proud to be a part of this Ummah.  It gives me a sense of Home.

My Masterpiece

My Masterpiece

I make the most amazing pasta not gonna lie. I don’t usually brag, but food’s the rare topic that I do have to brag about. I don’t even do anything that difficult with pasta. It’s practically already ready I just add my own spices to the powder that’s already there.  I just take one of those suddenly salad boxes and follow the directions on the box for the sauce and THEN the masterpiece begins:

  1. Add these along with some black pepper to the bowl of sauce you just made from the box. A pinch of everything should do it. Note: If you’re making the one that calls for a half cup of mayo, don’t put a half a cup. A few table spoons and some milk should do it.

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2. Cut up some veggies. Cut them up like about about inch in size. The tinier the better and crunchier the better.
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3. Put them in bowl mentioned above and mix it all together. Use the cheese and fried onions later.

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4. Bowl the noodles.

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5. Put the noodles in the bowl and garnish with crushed up fried onions and some cheese and there you go, you have a masterpiece. You can also add meat like some crushed up turkey bacon bits or some fajita chicken that can be made with sliced up chicken breast that’s fried in various spices or a cut up boiled egg. I made this one with just raw veggies:

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Finished masterpiece! 🙂

When I planned my day

I had quite a few things planned for today.  Whether or not they got accomplished is another story. I think thinking about planning is an accomplishment in itself. I had planned to go for a 30 minute walk today. I had also planned to write more on the topic of linguistic acquisition through the use of music.  I had created this thought that I would research language and music by day and blog by night.  Atleast I blog.  The one thing I’ve planned to do is write this blog post and not fail at it.  You see, lately many of my plans have turned into other plans or as we say, life gets in the way of an original plan. So for me I must say, taking things one step at a time is what I should’ve planned for today and I’m quite glad I was able to accomplish this one major part of my day which was to not fail at something.  I had planned to write a blog post on what I was going to do today and I will not fail. I had thought about eating breakfast and going for a walk. Atleast I ate breakfast. I had also planned to read a book.  The rest of my day consisted of not writing as I had planned, but atleast thinking about it. That brings me back to trying not to fail at something.  I felt that if I could do this one task that could start me on a path to another. I did not want to let anyone down that I had failed in the task of discussing my plan for the day. After my walk and reading I planned to shower (which I did-don’t freak out).  I had also planned on going for a drive around town.  I wanted to go grocery shopping to pick up some things I wanted to cook.  I was planning on going grocery shopping later in the evening.  Perhaps even though my day didn’t go as planned, this one accomplishment of discussing my day will set me on a series of productive days.  I’ve also just realized I’ve said the word “plan” way too many times.

When you need a quick snack

Kebabs are a great snack. There are lots of things you can do with them.  You can  make them into a fajita or wrap them in a piece of bread or eat them plain.  Here I’ve fried up two beef kebabs which were kind of spicy and topped them off with pico de gallo and mozzarella cheese. I also added hummus. All on tortilla bread.  Personally I like the beef kebabs better than the chicken. You can either get the kebabs from the frozen section of a grocery store or make them on your own using ground beef/chicken and a series of spices. Any drink can be on the side.  Great for when you’ve got a long work day like I did! Enjoy!FullSizeRender (2)