plea to pilgrim women

Stop yelling and love more, Please.

براہ کرم چیخنا بند کرو

My plea to all women

As a new parent, I have had the incredible opportunity and luxury of being able to go on several religious trips with my family, الرب رؤوف. Including a KUN safar trip and Umrah.

While deciding to go on these trips, there are always several factors that an adult, especially a parent evaluates before committing themselves to what is to come. Some include:

  • can we afford it?
  • will we get the time off from work?
  • can i handle the physical demand of travel?
  • am i in the right frame of mind for my ‘ibādah?
  • will we get the visa?
  • have i got my affairs in order so that i may take a break to go on this trip?

With all these personal challenges to consider, never once did it occur to me the petty things that i would have to endure from other people of shared faith. This plea is to the men and women who attempted to break my intention of having the most incredible experience with my family at some of the holiest of places on earth.

“Keep your child quiet, I’m trying to sleep!”

I live in southern US, and in order to be able to afford the prices for travel, we often book flights with points which always extends travel times. As prepared parents, we had watched YT videos on how to prepare for long flights with an active toddler, read blog posts and spoke with numerous people all over the world for advice, I am confident that what we experienced during our flight was nothing short of a miracle. Sleeping during take off and landing (mostly) and playing or laughing during the day-time flight. I can not tell you how incredibly grateful i am that my child had such a pleasant experience flying so long a distance (+/-30 hours). We spent a couple of hours playing & laughing when we were flying during the day when a passenger complained that we were too loud while he/she was trying to sleep. To the person who complained, and the flight attendant who passed the message, I would like to tell you ‘It’s day-time. Read a book, play a game, watch a movie or put on some headphones.’

“Take that Pacifier away from your child, it is very bad!”

My child is not one that sleeps a lot. It is a struggle for all of us. In an attempt to stay sane, I had decided to give my child the pacifier to help her sleep and also give me a break from either nursing her for hours on end or being paralyzed with confusion on what to do with a child, obviously exhausted, but not able to fall asleep. Though it took many attempts, it worked. With that, my husband and i finally got to rest, even for a few hours at a time. We got to eat a meal in peace. We saw a calmness come over our child. That was the beginning of Binky. In no way shape or form was i willing to get rid of this during what would be the third and longest trip internationally she would have experienced in her life to a world where our routines would be disrupted all the time and she would be among masses of huge crowds all around her with no ability to be physically free to roam as she pleases. To all the men and women who judged my parenting choices and my child because of Binky, I would like to tell you, ‘You don’t know us, you don’t know our story. If you have nothing positive to say then we have nothing to talk about.’

“If you want to go home with your child alive, then leave this place immediately!”

To the woman who was standing with me in front of Baab e Kaaba who said the above statement to me, I understand that what you meant and what you said did not align. I forgive you for the hurt that I felt when I heard those words from you at that place and in that moment. ‘May Allah SWT grace you with the tongue that speaks only well wishes’.


Author Review – Nouri Sardar


a poet, spoken word artist and filmmaker born in the City of Westminster, London. His writings focus on the Ahlulbayt (family of the Prophet Muhammad) and on issues of social justice and divine love.

My first meeting

as a true millennial, was through https://www.instagram.com/nourisardar/


  • you cant read it without crying
  • once you start reading you cant stop
  • IG feed only leads to the thirst for more and before you know it, you’re reading all of the books and subscribing for more

Book Review: Very Hungry Caterpillar, the

A kid’s classic, this not only engages a kid’s page turning, tactile senses but also educates kids about the tasty things caterpillars eat to help them grow into beautiful big butterflies.

Pages that turn, with increasing counts and a trail for what foods were eaten, makes this book a page turner for toddlers and kids alike.

Book review: Color Monster, the

Helps make feelings more describe-able for kids learning to talk through color and scribble.

Loved the pop-up feature in combination with emotion filled scribble to bring the emotions to life on paper.

Panjatan Pak; Salawat Nu Thaal

A friend of mine recently attended an event where a Panjatan Pak Salawat nu thaal was presented. Below are the photos she took. I cant decide which is more amazing, the menu, the execution or the photos!

Photos taken by ASL Lifestyle Photography


  1. Sundheru – Imam-uz-Zamaan
  2. Kalamra – RasulAllah (SAW)
  3. Baaji & Roti – Mollana Ali (AS)
  4. Gur & Roti – Molatina Fatema-tu-Zahra (AS)
  5. Kaleji – Imam Hassan (AS)
  6. Boondhi – Molana Abbas Alamdar (AS)
  7. Sooji – Imam Hussain (AS)
  8. Sharbat – Ali Akhbar (AS)
  9. Doodh – Ali Asghar (AS)
  10. Gosht – Hamza (AS)
  11. Khajoor – Imam Zain-ul Abedin (AS)
  12. Kheer Puri – Imam Jaffar-us-Sadiq (AS)
  13. Paan – Molatina Zainab (AS)
  14. Mendhi – Sakina (AS)
  15. Barfi – Dua-tul-Mutlaqeen
  16. Chocolates – Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin
  17. Dry Fruit – Syedna Aali Qader Muffadal Saifuddin

Two Days, in Montreal, in November.

Why Montreal over Thanksgiving weekend?

Cheap flights, love of Europe and desire to fly North for the winter!

How to pack in just one carry-on, dress for 30o weather?

Cold, wet weather means layers and weather-proofing for rain and snow/slushies. We wore a weather proof puffer jacket (with a hood) over a light sweater and light boots that had sole grips.

For three days (including travel) we packed three outfits all of which consisted of light sweaters, tights/pants and plenty of undergarments.

We travelled the city with a backpack since we’d immediately need to take off our coats when entering a building because of how well interior climates were managed. It was easier to smush our jackets into our backpacks rather than carry them in our arms. Not to mention carrying water, protein bars/snacks are easier in a backpack than over a shoulder any day!

For hiking days or outdoor strolls, we carried instant hand warmer packets in our gloves that gave us just enough warmth to face a 2 hour hike through Mont-Royal Park.

Our DAY-by-DAY itinerary

Travel ½ days

Snack time at Tim Hortons anywhere – get the Special French Vanilla Latte and any donut item with maple flavoring!

Stroll through your local district based on where your hotel is located.

Check out the Montreal Blog to find out other places that might interest you!

Day 1

Breakfast at Spoon Café – care for a delicious coffee early morning? Check out this gem in downtown along a hilly street filled with characteristics and charm du jour.

Mid-day snack at St-Viateur Bagel – There’s a debate amongst the locals between who makes the better bagel, Fairmount Or St-Viateur? Though we only went to St-Viateur, we recommend you make the attempt at the taste test and check out both!

Lunch to go from a halal restaurant, Azir – we were on our way to parc du Mont-Royal and we came across a halal corner shop along the way. We stopped, grabbed an elaborate plate of sausages and took it to go to eat on a bench during our gratefulness walk.

Sugar Rush at Andrée Chocolats – “Chocolat Andrée is a family story, but it’s also, quite significantly, a story about women.” Check it out to try some of the best chocolate or in our case nougat our palettes have had the pleasure of tasting.

Hike through Parc du Mont Royal – to burn off those carbs of-course! Take the easier long way and enjoy a gratitude walk with a loved one or even just yourself OR challenge yourself to new heights and take the stairs…all..the..way…up! Once your reach the observation deck, you’ll be glad you did! There are cafes there where you can get an espresso or latte to warm your soul.

Dinner at C’ChoColat – Just look at their Instagram page and tell me you’re not salivating…I dare you. We ordered the L’Italienne Crepes and the Pistache Pizzazz. No regrets. None. The sugar high and crash was all very much worth it!

Day 2

Breakfast at Café Myriade – we went to the one in collaboration with Club Monaco. For those of you who know me, you’d realize that this is my equivalent of the age-old ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. It was everything I could have dreamed of.

Stroll through RÉSO – Commonly referred to as The Underground City of Montreal, we roamed, we shopped and we snacked to our hearts content!

Lunch at a Lebanese café in the food court

Gelato Dessert from some corridor that connected to and from somewhere

Dinner at Le Taj – my man loves lamb chops. And having given me an entire afternoon of walking through an underground mall, what better way than to give him the best lamb chops in the area? The chai was meh, but the entrees and naan were entirely worth it!

Evening show of Aura Basilica Montreal – light, orchestral music and grandiose architecture combine to create a unique, three-act multimedia spectacle. All in the cathedral where Celine Dion married!

Stroll through Old Port of Montreal – walk through the historic streets of Montreal to see college students enjoy their evening among boutiques, holiday lights and historic cobblestone paths.

Yemeni Qishr AKA Cascara, Sultana, Hashara

Recently there has been a lot of attention around traditions and cultures surrounding Coffee cultivating communities. I wanted to share my knowledge of the Yemeni coffee cherry tea, Qishr, other names, how to make it, and also where to get it.

The common name

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

In Yemen, it’s referred to as Qishr, a tea made with coffee cherry husks, cinnamon, ginger or caraway.

In Ethiopia, it’s called Geshar or Hashara, and its darkly roasted until almost black, and infused in water for a longer period to create an intensely fruity brew.

In Bolivia it’s called Sultana, where they enjoy it with cinnamon, clove, and sugar.

Brew a pot of Qishr


  • 1 cup coffee husks (Qishr)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (substitute 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsk caraway seeds
  • sugar to taste (i used 1/4 cup)

  1. lightly grind coffee husks in a spice grinder
  2. bring 3 cups of water to boil
  3. add in all your ingredients and stir
  4. let this mixture steep for 5-6 minutes on medium-low heat over the stove
  5. strain your tea mixture
  6. serve while hot

Where to get it

Hope you enjoy your cup of Qishr tea, post your photos in the comments! i’d love to see how it turns out!

Coffee Cupping

This week I had a wonderful experience taking a cupping class. I learned all things involved with coffee tasting from origins to roasting processes and ending with curated advice on the best coffee grinder the marketplace has to offer. I’ve captured notes and included the recommended coffee grinding machines to brew a perfect coffee.

Give up bad coffee for good!

Key roasting processes that greatly affect coffee flavor:

The Dry Method is the age-old method of processing coffee, and still used in many countries where water resources are limited. The freshly picked cherries are simply spread out on huge surfaces to dry in the sun. Depending on the weather, this process might continue for several weeks for each batch of coffee until the moisture content of the cherries drops to 11%.

The Honey Method where the skin and pulp are removed, but some or all of the mucilage (Honey) remains. Because there is a little bit of fermentation happening in the short amount of time it takes for the mucilage to dry, coffees processed in this way feature a little more acidity than Pulped Naturals (Pressure-Washed) coffees, but significantly less acidity than Washed or Natural/Dried-in-the-Fruit coffees.

The Wet Method removes the pulp from the coffee cherry after harvesting so the bean is dried with only the parchment skin left on. The beans are transported to large, water-filled fermentation tanks. Depending on a combination of factors — such as the condition of the beans, the climate and the altitude — they will remain in these tanks for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to remove the slick layer of mucilage (called the parenchyma) that is still attached to the parchment. While resting in the tanks, naturally occurring enzymes will cause this layer to dissolve. When fermentation is complete, the beans feel rough to the touch.  The beans are rinsed by going through additional water channels, and are ready for drying.

Tasting the Coffee:

Coffee is repeatedly tested for quality and taste.  This process is referred to as cupping and usually takes place in a room specifically designed to facilitate the process.

  • First, the taster — usually called the cupper — evaluates the beans for their overall visual quality. The beans are then roasted in a small laboratory roaster, immediately ground and infused in boiling water with carefully-controlled temperature. The cupper noses the brew to experience its aroma, an essential step in judging the coffee’s quality.
  • After letting the coffee rest for several minutes, the cupper breaks the crust by pushing aside the grounds at the top of the cup. Again, the coffee is nosed before the tasting begins.
  • To taste the coffee, the cupper slurps a spoonful with a quick inhalation. The objective is to spray the coffee evenly over the cupper’s taste buds, and then weigh it on the tongue before spitting it out.

Samples from a variety of batches and different beans are tasted daily. Coffees are not only analyzed to determine their characteristics and flaws, but also for the purpose of blending different beans or creating the proper roast. An expert cupper can taste hundreds of samples of coffee a day and still taste the subtle differences between them. 

Getting the right tools:

Looking for a great burr grinder? check out these options for your home coffee station, ranging from low to high, if you’re really in to coffee that is. Baratza coffee grinders:


Interested in taking the class? Check out the Cupping Class at the Texas Coffee School.