“Until, when they came upon the valley of the ants, a female ant said, “O ants, enter your homes so that you do not be crushed by Solomon and his soldiers while they do not feel it.”
This Quranic verse is part of a small narrative involving King Solomon and his soldiers marching. They came upon a colony of ants, as the verse states, and almost crushed it. The interesting thing about this verse is that it specifies the gender of the ant in question, that was working in the colony and almost got crushed. It is well known today that male and female ants have different roles in the ant society. All male ants have wings, and all female ants (save for the Queen ant) do not have wings and work on the ground. Had the ant society Solomon’s soldiers almost crushed been male, they would’ve been able to fly away. However, as the verse states, they were close to getting crushed. One must conclude this particular group of ants was female. This verse was revealed to prophet Muhammad SAW 1400 years ago, long before science confirmed that female ants do not have wings (in the early 20th century).
And yes, ants do have homes. They are indeed very remarkable creatures. Older than the dinosaurs, and found everywhere on earth except for Antartica, ants have a very structured social order, with roles, duties, and dwellings. They are the only other animal on earth that practices agriculture, even domesticating and milking aphids. Ants are the smartest insect in the world and can live up to 30 years!
No wonder they’re the namesake of the 27th chapter of the Quran.
I’m not the sundress donning,
lip gloss wearing,
loose curls toting,
easy smiling girl.
I’ve never been the head in the clouds.
I’ve never been the skipping-through-daisies
I was never the carefree, full of life, character that I tried so hard to be.
Continue reading Love Song
“Take the exit ramp onto Randall road.”
She turned her steering wheel and slowed down to exit the highway. Her knuckles ached and her fingertips were numb. On her right ring finger was an indent where previously a ring snugly sat, just a little bit too tight. She wondered if her mother would notice the indentation, and if she did, would she say something? Somehow mothers must just notice the tiniest things, she thought. The music she played while driving became a distant hum as her ears filled with sentences she anticipated to hear this afternoon. Once she got off the highway, her mind wandered as her hands and her feet led her vehicle to Copper Springs lane. Before she knew it, she was parking her car in front of her parents house, and her heart was beating so hard in her chest that she felt the veins in her neck throb as she twisted her head to look behind her while doing her best to parallel park her car straight next to the curb. Continue reading Sneak Peak of the Book I’m writing!
August 2016. First semester at UT. Saw an ad on campus for something called “Once Upon a Week”, a theater project where you write, rehearse, and perform a play within one week with a group of strangers. I decided, why the hell not… and ended up having a helluva good time. I couldn’t find the shaky, grainy footage I took of the performance, but the transcript is below.
Continue reading Once Upon A Week
I worked on this research paper during my final semester at UT. It is in the field of international political economy, and I put my heart and soul into it. I’m extremely proud of myself that I was able to produce something this in-depth and well put. When I presented my paper to my class, I was voted in 1st place. Should you be interested in reading it, I have attached it below. Be warned, it is fairly lengthy (24 pages).
National and International Oil Companies and Domestic Welfare
My newest article is published! It is about the city-wide boil water notice that Austin had last month and how it relates to water scarcity as caused by climate change. You can read it here.
من رأى منكم منكراً فليغيره بيده، فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه، فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه، وذلك أضعف الإيمان
“If one of you witnesses wrongdoing, change it with your hand, if you are unable then with your tongue, if you are unable then with your heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Continue reading If You Witness Wrongdoing
The latest article I wrote for the Liberator was about online friends. You can read it here!
3 weeks ago, I worked my last day at MSC, the company where I had my first full time position post-graduation. Continue reading Mediterranean Shipping Company – Reflections
Warm was the breeze, when they, towards me, dive
-ed a flock of Painted Buntings, all at once.
I watched, with taken breath, when they arrive
-ed back into the sky, a splendid performance.
Continue reading Painted
On a long car ride home, one of my sisters fell asleep and I took a picture of her. The look of calm on her face mesmerized me and I decided to paint it. I didn’t know where I was going with it or what I was trying to say. Then my life took some unexpected turns and I started to feel like I was drowning… in fears, sadness, possibility. Yet I was somehow still composed, refusing to be unsettled. I hope looking at this piece in the future reminds me of all that I’ve endured, and the grace within me to face anything that might come my way.
I woke up this morning to an email notifying me that I have been chosen to receive the PMH Scholarship through Texas Exes. This scholarship will definitely ease some of the financial burden of my final year at UT. Thank you to the donors!
Joseph and I recorded an interview for StoryCorps about that protest back in November 2016 during the elections.
On September 28th, 2018 an excerpt from the interview aired on NPR’s morning edition nationwide. It was also featured on NPR and StoryCorp’s website.
There was a point at which I realized what had happened. It was sometime after being asked leading questions to fit a neat narrative on conservative talk radio, essentially painting me as an unprincipled bridge. It was sometime before the end of Eugene Volken’s lecture about Free Speech on Campus. There was a point at which I realized the dilemma I could only see reflected in the enigma of a right wing campaign for more civil rights. At that point I asked myself: does free speech have to be the cost for social justice?
Continue reading An Exercise in Reconciling Free Speech with Social Justice
A letter we send, we as the sons of the Sadr movement to each dirty
Malikian, Hakeemian and Jafarian…
With the help of Allah, and after monitoring and mapping for months, all
emails of those who are helping the government of the criminal Al-Maliki have been hacked
by the electronic monitoring department of the Sadr movement, the national
movement that is a true Iraqi movement which rejects the American invasion. And thank
Allah, this is one of them.
All of you, the tails of the Invasion will die burning along with your
May Allah quicken the return of “Al-Mehdi” and aid us in gaining victory over the oppressors.
Continue reading Religious Appropriation
There’s no right way to begin this letter but I believe I owe you an apology. I’m sorry that I have not exactly been faithful to you. I apologize for deserting and rediscovering you whenever it seems most convenient to me. I truly hope you can forgive me.
Continue reading To my Iraqi Self
Our dream is daylight
our days are work.
We possess imagination,
and imagination is our hope.
And life fills us with promises,
of a light at the end of the tunnel.
It invites us to forget,
pain we lived.
We surrender to life, but no,
as long as hope is a journey,
so we will live.
I’ve always had a love for butterflies. It probably stems from my deep seated need for freedom – to feel that I can soar, sink, and roam without being weighed down. This photo was taken by a friend of mine and I couldn’t help but share it.