The Blessings

Momma and me have always kept Ramadan as ascetic as possible. It is, after all, the month of fasting. We don’t make special deserts, which is now – culturally, not religiously – a huge part of the month of fasting. I don’t really understand it, either.

However, when we have guests, we break out the desserts. My palette has changed, which is really odd – the sweets in the photo are traditional Middle Eastern sweets, all filled with nuts and spices, and drenched in rose-water syrup. Next to them are dates, and out of view are dried mulberries. Unless it’s knaafah, I’m not enjoying sweets, and heading straight for the dates and mulberries instead. I didn’t think cutting out sugar as much as possible would actually alter my taste-buds, so this is an interesting and welcome development.

Since beginning the sabbatical, I have, to close my night, daily written out three things for which I am grateful. There are days when I have stared at my screen and been stumped. Amazing, right? How blind our hearts can be to all that we have. Shameful, in fact.

I wake up safely in my own home daily, with my health, alhamduliLah. I have money in my pocket for that day. I am not worried about whether I will eat or drink clean water. The basics.

Then there are the realities of today’s world, from which I am safely protected at present – rape as a tool of war. Kidnapping as a tool of war. Bombs. Sanctions. Being pulled over by a police officer and killed because I am Black. I am not at risk of experiencing these things right now. Things may change in the future, but today, my life is safe from such harm.

And all of these are blessings. (Critical Note: Do not misunderstand this to mean that those who experience these things are less blessed. This is literally the Conservative ‘Go’. What it means, is that I am benefiting because of things such as my location, and my skin colour, benefits established by and to serve a sick and supremacist capitalist-driven world. Because again, evil exists with His permission, but it is not rewarded.)

In today’s lecture, I learned that Rahman (Most Gracious), is His name which encompasses the giver of big blessings; and, Rahim (Most Merciful), is the giver of small blessings. Big blessings are the things we can see relatively easily and without much thought like overall health; small blessings are where we find God in the details, such as (to use Hamza Yusuf’s example) the blessing of having eyelids. Just thinking about not having eyelids makes me want to collapse my own lung, yet I had never thought of my eyelids as blessings until today.

And then I couldn’t stop thinking about the details. Thank God for my:
Opposable thumbs so I can use a sword and fight the Americans when they invade.
Knuckles which allow me to pick up and place into my mouth hickory sticks.
Knees so I can do lunges and squats which I never do because I am fine with a small bottom.
Fingers because it would be hard to run my hands through Keanu’s hair otherwise.
Nails because blood-red will look really lovely against his jet black silken hair.

You get my point, yes?

I mean. Now I can’t unsee what I suddenly know. alhamduliLah.

Try it. It’s kind of fun. But kindly leave Keanu to me, please and thank you. (I mean, he looks great in a beard; half-way to Islam already, akhi.)

Today, I am grateful for:
1. The fluid and fine hairs inside my ears. Because balance.
2. My taste buds. I appreciate very much that I am able to taste things, and enjoy them.
3. The hair in my nose. Because it’s “one of the body’s first lines of defense against harmful environmental pathogens such as germs, fungus, and spores”. (See? I suddenly can’t stop learning about the mechanics of our bodies. Literally, everything is doled out perfectly to perform its exact function. Disease and difficulty begin when things are either too much or too little. Like the hair in our nose; thanks God for not making them longer, etc.)

Ottawa | May 11, 2019

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