1) Something I really love about being in a Muslim country like Egypt is how easy it is to worship Allah. If I’m out of the house and it’s prayer time I can be sure that within the next 5 minutes I’ll come across a mosque or somewhere I can pray. And even if I don’t, I can just walk into a shop and ask them to let me pray there.
2) Something I really love about being in a country like Canada is the beauty of nature that surrounds me at every corner. It’s true that I miss hearing the call to prayer, but to wake up and see the mountains….subhan Allah! The beauty of Allah can be seen anywhere and everywhere, whether it’s the sight of a hundred pigeons flying around a minaret as the mosque calls out “Allahu Akbar”, or whether it’s being able to watch a family of ducks crossing the sidewalk to get back into the water, one can be conscious of Allah’s mercy and beauty, if only we stop to look.
3) Egyptians often claim that they care so much about educating their children, evidenced by how much money is spent yearly on private tutoring. Ibrahim Eissa, Egyptian journalist and talk-show host, claims that it’s the degree that we care about, not getting a good education and gaining knowledge. I can’t say I completely disagree with him, us Egyptians do have an unhealthy obsession with degrees and certificates that we can hang on our walls, regardless of what kind of knowledge backs that up.
4) A few months ago one man decided to start a protest along with his 2 children. He made signs and banners for himself and his kids, and started protesting in front of the Ministry of Education. His complaint? That the school system wouldn’t let his daughter start school this year – claiming she was too young and had to wait another year. But he knew of several people who managed to get their kids in early because they had personal connections and knew the right people. While Western media was busy as usual talking about how much the Taliban hate girls’ education, this Muslim father was teaching his young son and daughter just how important it is for them to go to school. I wonder why Fox News didn’t pick this one up.
5) I’ve been hanging out with my 3-year old nephew for the past week. I taught him to say Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem before eating, except now he insists on saying it before he takes every bite. It’s quite hilarious. He also insists that we all do it too. I’m curious to see what will happen when he goes back to his daycare centre and tries to persuade his Canadian non-Muslim teachers to do the same. The dilemmas Muslim parents face when raising children in non-Muslim countries….not that it’s all smooth-sailing in a Muslim country, raising children is a struggle no matter where, I guess it’s just the nature of the dilemmas that’s different.
6) The other day a non-Muslim woman said the following to my hijabi cousin: “Your scarf is so beautiful, you’re so beautiful! Are you from Israel?”. It made me laugh out loud at the time, but today I actually saw a Jewish hijabi at the mall, so I guess it’s possible. That same day a native Canadian Inuit man asked us what “Salaam” means and commented on the fact that the word “mama” is universal to almost every language. It’s moments like these why I love Canada so much.