Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested? 

Quran 29:2


I often tell my parents that I am the biggest disappointment in their lives. Usually, it’s in fits of aggravation from their disallowing me to do XYZ activity or enforcing of XYZ chore on me. Oh, they also immediately get mad at me for saying that, and that I’m their pride and joy and all that. Being the smartass that I am, I’ll retort with something wittily disrespectful (low-key, though, because I ain’t tryna get smacked) and then I’ll hear the age old phrase that all desi kids know all too well: pata nahi kya ghalat kiya is key saath. Then I say it. 

What did they do wrong with me, as the words translate? The answer is nothing. There comes a point in our lives that our parents stop parenting us and are rather spectating how we live them. They don’t know that though, as I’ll always be 29 years younger than my mom, her first born, and hence, her “baby.” I’m skirting the shores of adulthood now, and you’d think that that would allow me much more freedom. Thankfully I’ve got more than my fellow Muslim friends, but nowhere near as much as my “white” friends (not to culturally appropriate or anything…unless you’re super liberal and don’t think that whites are subject to racism).

Image result for 18 year olds then and now

Thank you, Google, for the infographic. However, I don’t need to go to the badass generation for this example. My own dad tells me of his teen years, when he was part of Karachi’s “biker gangs.” 0200 hours and eating nihari at a food stand in some back alley of the City That Never Sleeps. Forget the old world, he’s been in America since ’86 and settled it alone, working and learning full time, at the age of 19. But I can’t go 18 miles away by myself for a friend’s paintball birthday event.

Here’s the reason: I am a child. Despite how much America likes to pride itself in the age 18 and the independence, the university experience, the drinking and partying and “adulting,” we really aren’t adults. A good indicator of this is meme culture, specifically college kid culture. Save a few, the majority of undergrad students live off of ramen and don’t sleep (class of 2005-present). Kudos to you if you can jumble the infamous big three (friends, sleep, or grades) in a way that doesn’t drain you of who you are, of your life force itself (melodrama adds to the fun of blogging, OK).

It’s not totally our fault. Society and technology could be blamed. I mean look at Usama ibn Zayd, the Final Messenger’s adopted grandson (son of his freed slave, who was like his son). He was given an army at his disposal to do God’s work at THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN! I mean storming Normandy at 15-19 in 1944 is impressive but imagine being the equivalent of Gen. Eisenhower at that age. I’m having a bowel movement just thinking about that responsibility, the need for victory, the lives under my command and how I’d be accountable for every life lost. Usama, by the way, stayed in command even after Rasoolullah’s death, despite his youth and calls to have him replaced by Umar ibn al-Khattab. I mean, when a guy revenges his father and defeats the Romans, he does have some credibility.

I am not Usama ibn Zayd. I wish I could be half the seventeen year old he was. If I was, I’d not be feeling the way I am right now.

550 words in and I haven’t even gotten to why I’m writing this. Typical.

My student (7th grade) got his ‘ijazah/sanad (chain of narrators going back to the Messenger himself) today and finished memorizing the Holy Quran last Thursday. He started after me. I’ve been at it for eight years. I should have finished in 8th grade, but, as I said, I’m no Usama, and lack-of-drive got the best of me. My classmate is 12 pages away from finishing, and he started when I did. In fact, we were on the same Chapter when the school year started. I’m about 180 pages away (614 pages total).

I’ll finish with this: self-pity has no place in my lifestyle nor do excuses. I have the ability to be in deep sorrow for this situation in which I’ve placed myself, but have no desire to do so, as that would dissent from the entire premise of my writing. I have excuses to make, but would never make them so, as to do so would result in a loser-like attitude and again detract from what I’ve built myself up to attempt to be, based on my parental base and teen-aged ego. I’m kind of rambling and being drawn-out for no reason other than to enjoy my writing, because my Quran is severely lacking, and it’s all my fault.

I can do better.
I must do better.
I will do better.

So help me God.


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