The Ambition

The measure of my worth has never been the level or pay I might reach at work. My ambition and self-worth have always been rooted in how I treat others. They are in my ability to recognize the hurt in others. And, hopefully, in my ability to create for them safe-spaces in which they feel protected. They are in my writing. They are in my daily attempt to improve my character, one so riddled with faults should I not tend to them. For the times when my character has failed, and I have harmed others, I hope that they have forgiven me. If not today, then one day. (But for the one story with the young woman at Uni over 20 years ago, I am 97% certain that to anyone whom I have harmed, I have apologized. If anyone reading this feels otherwise, please reach out and let me know.)

Some years ago, I decided that my ambition was going to be placed into my relationships, rather than the office. No surprise, outside of the dedication and love I pour into my relationships, I tend and nurture who I really am – a writer, and a seeker of knowledge.  (Re the 9 to 5, I reserve the right to change my mind one day between now and retirement.)

She came in from Montreal, for a short break. This is my Roor, whom I met on a bus headed to Washington D.C. for the Right of Return March near 23 years ago. When I was spent last year, and momma was heading away for two weeks, she put me in Rawda’s hands for four days. She took care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself.

This conscious commitment to the careful choosing of my non-blood related family? To the building and maintenance of love between us? This wilful placement of ambition within this dimension of my world? It is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire adult life. AlhamduliLah.

We’re anticipating that the last day of Ramadan might be the 3rd or 4th of June, which means that we are now entering into the second half of this month. I am beginning to feel Ramadan’s fatigue. Keep the 1.8 billion of us in your well wishes, please and thank you; send energy should you have some to spare.

Today, I am grateful for:
1. All of the extraordinary women who continue to bless and enrich my life. May I be as good to you as you are to me.
2. The air’s oxygen levels, perfectly calibrated with a very small cushion on either side. 2% more or 2% less and we would be dead. Sub7aan Allah, man.
3. Zakat, the literal meaning of which is ‘to cleanse / purify’. It is one of the five obligatory acts of Islam – the donation of 2.5% of one’s wealth across the span of a lunar year (nope, you don’t have to give it to a mosque. Nope, you don’t have to give it to a Muslim**). Thank you for the opportunity to see, and pay attention to the needs of others, and to recognize what a blessing it is to (in the first place) have money to share. ❤️

**May 19: ‘ve been asked about my reference re the giving of zakat to non-Muslims. There are several positions on this matter, starting at that you can only give zakat to Muslims, while also – and you are encouraged to – giving charity* to the non-Muslim in need. While zakat is the obligatory tax of 2.5%, Muslims are also encouraged to go above and beyond this obligation to donate more to charity*, should they be able to.

I have chosen to accept and put into practice in my life a broader position than above, which states that it may be given to anyone in need, Muslim and non-Muslim.

Note that NONE of the positions allow for the giving of zakat to anyone / any organization who is at war with or actively doing harm to Islam.

Ottawa | May 18, 2019

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