On the limelessness of lemons and the lemonlessness of limes

When you accept the brokenness of peopleimg_20161017_173759

And you accept that we all come from a deep place of isolation and the need for self-fulfilment

You don’t know when they were on the brink, a fine line, you don’t know when they were on the precipice and that one look, that one word pushed them into the abyss and it broke something irreparable


When you accept that you don’t have to be perfect, and neither does anyone else

You don’t even have to try if you don’t want to, if it hurts to be

And what’s perfect anyway?

To be as lemon as a lemon

Or as lime as a lime

But what if the lemon cannot be lime

And the lime cannot be lemon

That’s it, what if they just can’t? What if they really want to, just to please you, but they just can’t?

And they’re both perfectly fine with being made into sweet lemonade and they twirl and intertwine and they love being what they are

It’s what makes your taste buds tingle and you don’t even KNOW


-Umm Saifullah 


The Believer’s Prison

Don’t you get it?

Put a foot on it and don’t let it stir. Block out the sound of its whimpering and don’t give in. Let it die. Let it suffocate. Let it wither away into nothingness.

Clench your teeth. Breathe in. Hold it. Breathe out. Let the hot tears evaporate on your fiery cheeks and don’t wipe them away.

Hold your head high. Don’t look back. You were born alone, you live alone, and you shall die alone. Alone they will lower you into your grave and alone you shall answer your Lord. Alone.

Swallow the pill and relish its bitter sweetness. Don’t forget. Don’t be deceived by the fleeting moments. Do not dwell.

“Paradise is surrounded by hardships and undesirable difficulties.” Be a stranger in this strange hole.


لا ترفع رأسك من السجود و في قلبك شيء

Beg, nag, complain, cry, wail to Him.

And when you find relief,

Remember this.

– Umm Saifullah 

Teaching Updates + Ramadan Resolutions


The last time I posted, I was just starting out with an all new vigorous teaching schedule. A lot has happened since then to be honest, a lot of progress and a lot of learning and self-discovery and reflections. I’m loving the accountability that comes with teaching; it keeps me on my toes since I’m not just working on MY goal but it’s somebody else’s goal as well. The teacher-student interaction and the sense that I can actually help somebody attain something substantial and worthwhile. That being said, its a big humongous responsibility and it hasn’t been an easy ride. Even when I’m not teaching, the students are always on my mind.. what can I do to make their learning experience easier, maybe even enjoyable? Am I impacting them the way my teachers impacted me? Why am I doing this? What can I do to maximize the benefit? 

Teaching is a lot about self-growth. I learn something new from each of my students… especially since our classes are all one-on-one… they inspire me to do more. Be a better person. I’ll be rushing through the day to check off other responsibilities and very often I’ll collapse at my desk for a class at the very last minute, take a deep breath and begin. Two minutes in and I’m in another world entirely. I get lost in the fathah and the kasrah and the dhammah and the  madd laazim. The dagger alif and the istitaalah of the dhaadh. The alif has a sharp laam but don’t stress too much on the hamzah…the baa, taa and thaa are boats… the raa can be written in so many different ways.. trying to perfect each characteristic, correct every error and iron out every little glitch. The huroof al muqata’aat. Just the huroof al muqata’aat. 


 For the longest time in the first few days of Ramadan, I had been too busy with teaching to properly contemplate on what I want need to achieve this year. Seemingly, this Ramadan has not been one of my most productive ones in terms of Quran khatms or any of that other goodness. But there’s so much more to it than that! I do realize that one of my main targets has been to build habits that last a lifetime… more efficiency and consistency. And SO, I’ve been focusing more on tiny bits (like one long Surah) a day, rather than 3 or 4 juz in a day, which is quite different from the way I was going in the past few years. I want to have a consistent  habit of perfecting a little of what I memorized everyday, rather than speed walk through the whole Quran. Not to say that completing a few khatms in Ramadan is bad, no, it’s just not what I see myself doing every single day for the rest of the year.

It’s been about trying to live ‘ibadah. To do normal routine activities with hope for reward and total reliance on Allah, to do things like laundry and cooking and cleaning because they are a part of an intentionally Muslim lifestyle and not just because they are necessities. I feel like it’s a workout for the soul. You exert all that energy and push all those muscles and you’ve worked yourself up to a sweat, heart pumping, blood pulsing and a few hours later you’re in immensely satisfying pain because *it worked*. Whether your struggle is patience, commitment, frugality or selflessness.. it will feel like a soul workout. 

Another target has been to be more grateful. To live life like a gift. 

To focus on things that matter the most.

-Umm Saifullah 

Studying – Getting back to it


Alright so, this is a different kind of post; not the usual for this blog. But I figured writing about it would make the transition back easier. 

 Quick update: I moved to Toronto. There’s a meter long list of things that need to be crossed off and I’m working my way s-l-o-w-l-y-y-y-y-y, but alhmdulilah I’ve got a head start on quite a few things and now I just need to pull through this final stretch before A WARM, SUNNY SUMMER BACK HOME.  Which reminds me, we’ve been doing some gardening work which I might blog about.

I took a break from studying for about three months and now I have exactly 10 weeks till the exam deadlines. I’ll be ranting  writing about math, time management, driving, study hacks that work for me, scheduling and routines, Shakespeare, functionalism, chai, yummy face masks, libraries, my playlist, detox smoothies and MUCH MORE. 

Keep on Reading!

Northern Pakistan: Days 3, 4 and 5

The next morning, we were up and ready after Fajr. We prayed, then we had breakfast at Royalton, then we got into the car. We drove from Islamabad to Haripur, passed through to Abbotabad, then Mansehra, Batgram and then Besham. We stopped at Mansehra because the driver wanted to pay his brother a short visit. We prayed, got some snacks and then set out again. Next we stopped at Besham and by this time the weather change was really getting to me, I was exhausted and desperately needed to wash up with cold water. We had refreshments and lunch at Besham, prayed Dhuhr. 7 am to 2 pm we drove from Islamabad to Besham. We thought it was almost over, but we had another 10 hours to go until our next stop!

Keep on Reading!