Happy Eid!!!

Happy Eid!

To all my fellow bloggers (celebrating or not!), just a quick message to say I’d like to wish you all a fantastic Eid day!

As the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadhan (the Islamic month of fasting), let’s not forget to carry on our hard efforts to be better people for the rest of the year too.

As we celebrate, let us remember to make a special prayer for all of those people who go through pain, suffering and oppression every day.

We are so incredibly lucky and blessed to have everything that we do; knowing that we will be presented with tables worth of food, safety, security, love and peace isn’t something that everyone is blessed with.

We are truly lucky.

Every time Ramadhan ends, I tend to feel a bit down because of how much I know I miss the blessed month. The peace, blessings, mercy and strength that come with it all make it feel far too short, I can’t believe it passed so quickly.

Ramadhan… If God wills, I will see you in one year, my friend.

 
(Image found through a random search, I can’t locate the source, but words added by myself).

It’s a Girl!

(Written as part of The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Adult Visions: As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?)

 

It's a girl!
I would like to announce the birth of my beautiful baby niece, born Tuesday 22nd July, to all of my fellow bloggers and readers!
This is the first grandchild on our side of the family, and so my family and I are incredibly excited and full of joy!
(My sister and brother in law are still at the hospital, and so I am yet to hear all of the details; possible name choice, weight, time of birth etc.)

As I sit here in my sister’s house, waiting for my new niece and her parents to return home from the hospital (I’ve secretly decorated the house in anticipation of their arrival!) I found it almost ironic that the question posted in today’s Daily Prompt was to do with childhood.

In reflection of the current moment of joy, I’d like to address the question in the most fitting manner possible, as a quick letter to my niece.
I will most likely write a longer and more meaningful letter in the near future for her (maybe even a quick video!?), but this will have to do for now!

 

To my beautiful, my beloved, my darling,

As I sit here in your future home, anxiously awaiting your arrival from the hospital; I find my mind to be a complete jumble of things I’d like to tell you. Where could I even begin!?

You, my precious, have been born into a world that has many faces; many beautiful, some terrifying, and others confusing.
Just as I discovered through my own growth and years, the steps you now take will be instrumental in shaping the beautiful woman you will become, and I have no doubt that you will blossom into the most beautiful of flowers.

God has blessed you with wonderful parents who have loved you long before you were born today, and I know that you will be surrounded by the safety of their love and compassion for the rest of your life.
Your mother – my older sister – can be a little demanding! So you must learn patience, my sweet. However, I have seldom met anyone as caring, loving and thoughtful as she, and so I know you will cherish one another, even in those moments of naughtiness and yelling!
She will be the arms that give you warmth.
Your father – who is truly like a brother to me – can, at times, be somewhat abrupt! So you must learn compassion and empathy, my dear. He is a man of strong values and virtues with a heart of gold, and I am proud that he was the one to have taken my sister’s hand in marriage.
He will be the guardian that protects you.

You have loving grandparents from both sides, who are all so very happy to have you with us, and many proud aunties and uncles.

Your mother and I have always had a special bond, one that went beyond just sisterly love. She was my best friend, my confidante, my shoulder to lean on and was always like a mother to me.
For this reason, my dear, I will not only be your embarrassingly proud Aunty Naz, but I will be your sister, I will be your friend, and I will be your partner in crime!
(To be honest, I’ll probably be the one hiding behind you every time we do something naughty! At least I now have a side-kick!)

Unlike many children around the world, you have been blessed to be born into the safety and warmth of a loving and secure home. No matter how bad a circumstance may be, always remember that you are so very blessed, and very deeply loved.

I hope to see you grow into a wonderful and inspiring woman, one who will always stand by the truth and what she believes to be right.

No matter how many people stand against you, always stand by the truth, my love.
No matter how many people stand with you, always remain humble in your actions and words.
No matter how much the World may try to pull you down, always stand by what is true and just.
No matter how much the World gives you, always strive to become better than yesterday.

Hold strong to faith and frequently remember your blessings, for you are wonderful.
Hold dear the morals and teachings that make us better humans, for you will shine bright.
Stand strong in your convictions and adhere to righteousness, and you will defeat the doubts.
Stand strong in your love and devotion, my sweet, for you will conquer fear.

You have been born into a warrior cast, so always fight for justice but spread only love and peace.
As you grow, open your mind to all the beauties of this universe, and travel through its wonders and marvels on the wings of your imagination, for it is a powerful tool.

This is a world in which people can often give in to the pressures of society and their peers, and it can often happen without us even realising. Do not ever be afraid to be yourself, my darling, because there is only one of you on this planet, and as such needs to be known.
You are amazing just as you are, so just be you.

Always remember, my darling, that you are loved. You are loved by Allah, by your wonderful parents, by your loving grandparents, and by many who would happily cross the world to be by your side.

You are loved by this crazy, sugar-addicted, sword swinging, cosmic travelling, over-talkative, and embarrassingly proud Aunty Naz.
Our family has always been small, but our bonds have always been tenfold as strong for that reason.

In ten to fifteen years from now, when you read and understand these words, I pray that we will be so close that you will be reading the words aloud to me as I brush your hair or paint your nails.
(Keep in mind that I’m the cool aunt!)

Enjoy every moment of your childhood, and should you ever need someone to turn to, always know that He (the Almighty) will be with you always, and that I will always be looking over you.

You are beautiful.
You are exquisite.
You are blessed.
You are sensational.
You are truly unique, my sweet.

… You are loved…
I love you, and you are always in my heart.

Your crazy Aunty Naz.

Oliver Twisted

(Written for The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Can’t Watch This: When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?)

child behind bars

“Please, sir, I want some more”

The short but winning line of a world renowned classic novel.
However, what is to follow will not be concentrating on the works of Dickens, but on the subject of oppression, including of that upon children.

Although I may not be the kind of person who tears up every five seconds, I have painfully wept and find my heart crying upon witnessing any forms of oppression, suffering, or pain on others – especially children, the elderly and the vulnerable.

Nobody wants to believe that pain, suffering and oppression exist within this world, and as such many also turn a blind eye to it. However, I personally feel that it is a duty upon each and every one of us to try to look out for our human brothers and sisters, even if that is simply through ‘recognizing them as human’, and praying for them.

More recently, the excruciatingly painful and horrific images and videos that have been coming out of the conflict in Gaza, and many other places in the world, have been tearing my heart to shreds.
As a British and proud Scottish citizen, I myself admit the presence of a strong media bias in our news channels, which is terribly unfortunate.
However, it’s not hard to find out the truth when we search for ourselves. The truth may be a matter of perspective, and I understand that the pendulum swings both ways, but some things are just inexcusable.

Babies and young children, targeted and being torn to shreds by ‘soldiers’; how were those innocent children a threat?
Disability centres and hospitals being blown to pieces; how are those vulnerable people any danger to you?
Innocent civilian homes being raided, destroyed and burned to the ground with the families still in them; that could have been your home and family.
Schools, places of worship, water systems and sewage systems being destroyed; leaving a horrible gash in life for the future generations.

I look around and see the many beautiful colours of the World, and its many faces and languages. Appreciation of diversity is so very important, but we must also look to see how, ultimately, we are all one and the same. One universal family called Humanity.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is being consumed by demons who take human form.
To think that ‘any’ child deserves such torture is a crime upon the soul.
To attest that ‘any’ person shouldn’t be allowed basic human rights is a tear upon the spirit.
To believe that ‘any’ pregnant woman should have her belly torn apart is a wound upon the heart.
To say that ‘any’ form of oppression is allowed, or permitted, is a stain upon the mind.

I am not here to try to upset anyone, however, if we find ourselves spending all our time pondering over the latest ‘gadget’ trends and celebrity gossip, yet completely ignoring the reality that millions upon millions go through… we know that humanity is failing.

We do not require to sit and cry all day in order to truly connect with the bigger picture, however, recognizing the existence of the suffering (and as such, the existence and value of each and every person who faces oppression in this world) will be the difference between being a hollow human vessel and a truly connected soul.

I am known as a ‘foolish optimist’, but I truly do believe that even a prayer, a well wish or a simple hope for a better world can make a difference.

As Mother Teresa once said:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

When all that many oppressed people have to protect themselves are sticks and stones, when faced by the world’s most powerful and advanced tanks and technology, then why haven’t we been feeling those many ripples?

It’s time to open our eyes.
We don’t need to be from any religion, colour, culture or race to condemn oppression; we just need to be ‘human’.
A child received a beating from a so called ‘war hero’, bleeding from head to toe, and begs “Please, sir, let me go”. However, just as in the case of Oliver, he doesn’t receive.
Bang…

…Wake up….

© Naziyah Mahmood, 2014.

(Image taken from http://animalnewyork.com/2011/palestinian-kids-art-exhibit-censored-too-violent-for-kids/
A drawing made by a child for an art exhibition that was censored)

Identifiers – Shakespeare Uncovered

(Written for The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – From The Top: Today, write about any topic you feel like — but you must reuse your opening line (at least) two more times in the course of your post.)

letters

“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

What’s in a name? I ask.
That which we call a lemon would still taste as sour.
That which we call a whisper would still sound as soft.
That which we call a wound would still feel as painful.
That which we call a rainbow would still look as colourful.

What’s in a name? I ask.
If Hitler was named ‘Joe’, would he have been more merciful?
If Gandhi was named ‘Bob’, would he have been less wise?
If Caesar was named ‘Jack’, would he have failed to conquer?
If Einstein was named ‘Abdul’, would he have not seen light?

What’s in a name? I ask.
Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, a champion through and through.
Bojaxhiu became Mother Teresa, her heart remaining pure.
Malcolm Little became X, still fought for civil rights.
Rolihlahla became Mandela, continued fighting for the people.

What’s in a name? I ask.
We may move under a different banner, but the real change begins within.

 

© Naziyah Mahmood, 2014

Mad Hatter’s Dinner Party

(Written as part of The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Seat Guru: You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favourite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?)

Mad hatter tea party

Come one, come all, with rumbling tummies,
It’ll be grand, didn’t you hear?
A Mad Hatter’s dinner party,
With guests from every year.

“Praise be to God” said the Caliph and Pope,
To their neighbour, Aristotle.
“A friend to all is a friend to none”
He giggled while grabbing a bottle.

“The Wound is the place where the light enters you”
Rumi so poetically sings.
Einstein replied “It must be short lived,
For the photon is the speediest of things.”

“Peace begins with a smile” whispered Mother Teresa,
Softly concealing a tear.
Van Gough struggles “Sorry, what did you say?
You see, I’m missing an ear!”

“Our Sun, a star, is the centre to life”
Said Copernicus, with hair so curled.
“I completely agree” said Michael Jackson,
“Billie Jean, you rock my world!”

So, you see, my friends, you are invited,
To join in the fun and laughter.
Dinner, then tea, with some iced cherry cakes,
Then a game of Twister straight after.

 

 

 

© Naziyah Mahmood, 2014
(Image taken from pictureperfectgallery.co.uk)