Monday 31 December 2007

Wierd Eid Party

Threw the second of my bi-annual Eid parties yesterday…and I think I may have to re-think the whole idea. In a previous post ( I wrote about how much I enjoyed the party for Eid al-Fitr. It was an opportunity for Hijabi’s to network and to let their hair down, and an alternative to Christmas for the children. This time round we had lots of the same games, plus my homemade pi├▒ata that wouldn’t break. The food was great and lots of people brought dishes so I had to do very little cooking. My best friend decided to bankrupt herself by buying my kids way too expensive clothes and I got really sweet pressies from Kooky Little Sister’s friends.

I invited my new sister-in-law to be (inshallah) so that my mum and sisters could meet with her mum and sisters. I think that that went ok, although I got very nervous and mum decided to re-organise the party (“ok – now find a table and move the buffet from the kitchen to in front of our [special] guests!!” – I really hope they didn’t think we were idiots!!).

My little cousins (6 and 8) decided they were going to entertain us with nasheeds, which Kooky Little Sister’s university friends were very gracious about (they tried not to laugh in the poor little mites faces). Little Man decided that he was going to throw a tantrum during the kids pass-the-parcel and rolled around over caste-off wrapping-paper, didn’t know whether to laugh my head off or be embarrassed.

As soon as the two mum’s left (mine and sis-in-law’s), the party got hijacked by Kooky Little Sisters friends, who decided it was one of the girls birthday party (we don’t celebrate birthdays at all, nor do many of my religious friends).Fashionista’s Sister’s friends were fashionably late (i.e. after everyone had eaten and played the games) and then refused to leave, so had to be thrown out. None of Long-Suffering Sisters friends turned up, but at least she did the dishes. Fashionista Sister is known for going into hiding as soon as the need for a pair of hands to do some work becomes apparent. Once Kooky Little Sister’s friends were gone, she came out of “neurotically cool ice-princess” mode and went back to being her grumpily sweet self.

But to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it, Eid seemed far away and the events in Pakistan have been uppermost in my family’s minds at the moment. So, a party felt extravagant, and made me feel very guilty when I thought of what some of my family are going through. I also didn’t really feel that I was gaining anything in my deen this time, but just engaging in excess.I think next time, if there is a next time, I will be inviting only a handful of people I really like (I do like a few of each of my sisters friends), and probably no relations. Will try doing a halaqah/circle together so that we do something to please Allah inshallah, and then just share some good food and enjoy the sweet company.

Saturday 29 December 2007

Pakistan's Darkest Hour

“This is exactly why so many Muslim countries are lagging behind, woefully inept. It isn’t the most qualified that get the positions, it is your family or those who can bribe you. This is how you get people who do not even have university educations running technology programs, health departments, engineering projects. It is no wonder that even if things get done, they get done poorly and cost way too much." Abu Sinan (comment on Umar Lee's blog).

I think Brother Abu Sinan's comment has hit the nail on the head. Pakistan has long had a small group of families dominating politics, business and the military, Benazir hailed from one of them and certainly did nothing to change the old guard of elites. I am convinced that if change is to come to Pakistan it will have to come through someone entirely new, rather than the same old group of politicians that have been around in some post or other over the last 40-odd years.

My in-laws in Lahore and family in Karachi are house-bound right now, their businesses are shut, their children not able to go school. The Hujjaj due to go back to Pakistan are now stuck at the airports as no flights can land at Karachi. My articulate, intelligent uncle in Karachi tells us he does not have words to describe the level of madness and savagery that have gripped his city. Millions of dollars worth of damage to banks, hospitals, businesses and people’s homes and cars.

I pray that Allah showers mercy on this country in what must be its darkest hour. There are bad people there, but there are also those that are good beyond measure. Sorry for the miserable post, but the last few days have been very sad ones for me, especially when I think of the sacrifices that people made for the birth of this country.

There is a very interesting article about Benazir Bhutto by the excellent William Dalrymple here (,,2233334,00.html) and another very good article by the novelist Kamila Shamsie here,,2233402,00.html .

Wednesday 19 December 2007

Eid Al-Adha and Hajj

Eid Mubarak, Eidan Saeedan, Happy Eid everyone.
For those performing Hajj - Hajj Mubarak and Hajj Mabroor inshallah. I wish I had the time to put up something from my Hajj diary, maybe next year inshallah. I hope everyone has had the chance to make the most of these 10 days and I hope everyone enjoys the blessings of Allah in the next few days inshallah.


Sorry no post for a while, have been uber-busy sorting out family feuds for the in-laws (why can’t Pakistani’s have a wedding without a fight? – is it just part of the fun?), meeting brother’s wife-to-be inshallah (what a doll of a potential sis-in-law!), making a few Eid cards, getting the kids Eid clothes (mostly courtesy of my mum and last Eids gifts of clothing) and oh yeah - finding my way around my new job.

Alhamdulillah, I am working in the Mayors office and with the Councillors and I am finding it very interesting. Its work that serves the community I was born in and there’s lots of scope for me to grow and offer ideas. It helps that the people are very nice. I am alsoind of pleased that it’s an office full of women (10 out of 11) as I feel more comfortable around them and don’t have to feel self-conscious all of the time. Also where there are women, there is food - regardless of how many are on a diet. After the Mayor’s and Councillor’s social and community events, someone will rush out to the Main Halls (opposite and above us) and bring back trays of left-over food (fruit, cheese, choc ├ęclairs, samosas, spring rolls…) they also like to bring in food to share, which is something I liked to do at my previous job and creates a lot of good will.

They have been kind enough to book a room at lunchtimes for me to pray and even asked the department who are arranging a move into a new building in the New Year to include a prayer-room as a permanent fixture. They were a bit embarrassed at first not to have anywhere already and I was a bit embarrassed at first about causing my new employers fuss, but now I’m thinking if they have a room, whoever prays in it I might get some of the reward inshallah.

Sunday 2 December 2007

Goodbye, Hello

Start new job tomorrow. It wouldn’t be the first time in a new office, so wonder why I am a bit stressed out. My previous job was my first after I graduated and although I did want to further my studies, at the time I felt it was time to work. I ended up staying seven years in various offices of the same organization. It has seen me through my application for my husband to join me here, two house moves, three children (along with three stints of maternity leave and starting work all over again) and two promotions (and the accompany back-stabbing, inflated self-importance and terror that you’ll be outed as a complete fraud - astaghfirullah).

So it was with sadness that I went in for my last day at work. Seven years worth of work, e-mails and junk to delete off my computer and a desk-load of “stuff” that just happened to accumulate and that took me three days to cart home on the tube. This accompanied by loads of wink-wink back-slapping about “you must be so happy to be leaving” and “you’re so lucky to be getting out of here” (maybe these people don’t get paid for coming to work or something?).

Had a lovely send-off though. Received a lovely silver bracelet and a box of my fave Body-Shop body-butters. The team also moved their team-building event to my leaving day, so we all had free pizza for lunch! Felt sad to be leaving them all.

So tomorrow I have to dress to make a good impression (I think chocolate and beige is nice and safe for the first day), find ways to avoid shaking hands, try and find out if there is a place to pray and see if I can get two days off for Eid inshallah. Remember me in your dua’s please. May Allah be pleased with you all.