In the Name of Allah
The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Bismillah… in Allah’s Name I begin
This piece about my ‘childhood memories’
InshaAllah I shall mention a few
Of the good times that God has given me
This is not to annoy any Muslim –
This is to recall some of the good times
That Allah blessed me with and so that I
Thank Allah even more each day and night
I remember that time when I haven’t
Started school –somewhere in east of Saudi
While waiting for the door to be unlocked
I was drinking milk –flavored strawberry
In that same apartment I recall some
Childhood friends playing with us in our flat
While each of us kids were given –by Mom
I think- some yummy Twix chocolate bars
There too, I recall, my parents praying
While my bro and I hid in our kids’ tent –
That time I guess took place the Gulf War and
We had some gas masks –no lie, no pretense…
In Dammam I recall often going
To King Fahad Park with my family
With friends too –picnicking there and riding
Swan boats, trains… rides of a variety
Often we’ve slept over at friends’ homes when
Going to Dammam from Riyadh City
With the various cars we’ve had in Saudi
White Toyota, black, silver and Audi
I recall while on our car journeys how
I enjoyed gazing at the starry skies
Passing by sand dunes and rocky mountains,
Camels of different color and size
And I recall how our friends from Dammam
Would come to our house in Riyadh city-
We’d have a gathering… dine together
In villas of different qualities
In Saudi, mashaAllah, we had friends
From almost every country of the world –
Brothers and sisters who all speak English –
Of various colors and age –young and old.
When I was young –even to my late teens,
My bros and I enjoyed watching T.V.
Islamic programs in Arabic and
English and old shows like Sesame Street
I too recall that time when I sent a
Fax letter to an Islamic show ‘Live’
‘Twas an Arabic Fatawa program
Where answers to my questions were derived
About wearing the face-veil when outside
Yes, it’s wajib –by Allah’s Rules abide.
Alhamdulillah, as a kid, I have
Traveled to many different countries –
Chatted with friendly strangers often –at
Airports, stations –with those who sat near me
I recall that time when my bro Ahmad
And I were running around the airplane
With a brunette whose English I could not
Understand and who was about our age.
MashaAllah, in many of our tours
As a kid, there were fun and scary times…
When my bro and I unwillingly rode
A log flume ride to reach the other side.
I recall traveling to Denmark with
My bros and my Mom to meet my Dad there
How we stayed at a nice house and how on
The way I had to leave my necklace hare
In Denmark at the arrival I still
Recall seeing Dad smiling at us four
Then riding a large bus then a small cab
And meeting the happy dog at the door
Whose name is Jasper… can you imagine…
How his name and breed I still remember
And how the weather there was really cold
How in the garden we played much soccer
In Denmark I too remember my Dad
Buying us chocolates from a sweets store
Among them Toblerone and Bounty, some
Round containers of candies and much more
In the house we stayed in –for about a
Month, my brothers and I loved to explore,
From books, knitting needles, yarns, sewing kits…
Especially had fun playing outdoors.
MashaAllah –more memories from my
Childhood include exploring Disneyland,
Walt Disney World, Universal Studios,
And Euro Disneyland in Paris, France
Seeing statues of ‘celebs’ in the wax
Museum in the city of London
Clowns shaping balloons in HongKong, going
To zoos, planetariums and aquariums.
MashaAllah –more memories include
Me playing arm wrestling with Saudi friends
At the public school I went to –and the
Many packs of gum that I’d bring and lend
At the schools I’ve been to I was known for
Chewing and sharing gum almost each day
That a British-Saudi friend of mine called
Me “Bubblegum Princess” -’twas my nickname!
I recall how often I’d take the lead
In playing social games like Truth or Dare
How I’ve performed many times on stage and
The many uniforms I used to wear
And that time when I baked chocolate cake
‘Twas heart-shaped, had rainbow sprinkles on top,
Gave slices of cake to friends and school mates…
Was a student who loved to read a lot!
From among my childhood memories: Those
Times when my family and I donate
And give away many of our clothing
To the Muslims who were in a poor state
Muslims in Chechnya and Palestine,
Those in Bosnia and other countries –
I too recall the multinational
Charity food bazaars held at WAMY
So you see, mashaAllah, God let me
Befriend people from different countries –
With us frequently changing apartments –
We’ve befriended colorful families.
More from my childhood memories include:
Riding ships, camels, a carriage with steeds,
Classic trains in Europe, monorail trains,
And in Disneyland a fun submarine.
Strangers I still remember from my past:
An Arab calling out to his mommy,
In the airport –I think, Heathrow airport-
In the playground: “Mama, ana monkey!”
And in Madinah after praying at
A well-known masjid –this cute old lady,
Whom I knew not but hugged my Mom dearly,
And gave her a ring with the letter ‘E’…
‘E’ for Emerald, ‘Eemaan’ or easy?
And that lass, about my age, who on a
Flight to Southeast of Asia sat near me,
While my family were seated in front
Of us –due to lack of space, I believe.
She was Indonesian I guess who worked
As a maid and spoke Arabic nicely
So together we chatted throughout the
Flight in Arabic about so many.
More sweet memories: the running games I
Played with friends at the schools I have been to
And that time when my Arab friends chose me
To draw some art to decorate the school
How some Saudi girls were admiring my
Handwriting, how many times I would buy…
Sweets and chocolate like Galaxy to
Give my parents when from school I’d arrive.
I remember too the birds we used to
Frequently feed outside our window sill.
And I remember buying a tank of
Goldfishes that some girls at school did sell.
I recall going to the huge pet store
With my family in search of a pet,
How this bunny was so friendly… how we
Bought more fishes and fish food in the end.
I remember too how often my Dad
Would bring home a box of assorted cakes,
And those months when I was bulimic –as
A teen I went through a very strange phase.
Alhamdulillah, I no longer go
Through any teenage eating disorder –
One lesson from that is: don’t take pills that
Make you see a ‘fat’ you in the mirror.
And always know that God Allah will not
Judge you based on your outer appearance –
You’ll be asked about your intentions, your
Good deeds and if you stayed away from sins.
MashaAllah –more memories include
Playing old PC and PlayStation games
Like Need For Speed, Rollercoaster Tycoon,
Mortal Kombat, SIMS… back then was insane…
So AstaghfurAllah for all the sins
Done out of ignorance or out of pride
May Allah forgive all of my mistakes –
The big and small –the ones I used to hide.
And Alhamdulillah for the good times,
Sweet memories from Allah the Most High.
May Allah make the highest level in
Heaven near Him the place where we abide.
What did you realize when you recall
The good things that have happened in the past?
That some memories stay, some people leave,
Some stay, and that time’s flying way too fast?
How you can remember many things, you
Will be made to recall on Judgment Day –
If you were a good Muslim the good deeds
You did –if not, how you spent life astray…
Collect as many good deeds as you can
So that in Heaven you recall how you…
Strived to do only what is right while you
Were pleased to be among the guided few.