Before I tell you about the book, let me tell you how I found out about the book! I was on a visit to meet an old co-worker in New York City because she had recently undergone surgery and I hadn’t seen her in years (practically). She is such a sweet and kind soul, she invited all of her younger friends that same day. She knew I would enjoy their company and she wanted me to meet them. There I met Bisma.
It always amazes me how I meet someone for the first time and the conversation just rolls. We spoke about so many different things that day, from our struggles to our hopes and then (my all-time favorite topic) the power of doua. She then pointed out to me, Love in Cancun. She said she had just went to a “meet the author” type of event in New York and there she met Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi the author of Love in Cancun. Ganiyah spoke about the parts of her book that were based on actual events and which parts were based on events that happened later. I remember vividly Bisma sharing the story of how Ganiyah actually met her future husband and how it was exactly how she wanted it to happen and exactly what she had been making doua for it to happen.
Fast forward a few months later, I start working for ICNA Relief, a domestic relief organization focused on building transitional houses, food pantries and free health clinics all throughout the country. I reached out to Bisma to ask her for the name of the name of the book, because we were having our annual fundraising banquet themed “The Power of the Pen,” and I wanted to reach out to Ganiyah to support our cause by providing us signed copies of her book. A few weeks later, we received five copies of the book mashaAllah.
Finally getting the book and being able to read it, I was excited to have my own personal (signed!) copy! The poem entitled Life, which Ganiyah used to open up the book with, just spoke to me. I didn’t just relate to what she said, but was actually coming to the same conclusions she stated so beautifully in the poem, I knew I would totally relate to her six-days in Cancun vacation.
From her thoughts on what ‘others’ thought of her fully dressed in over 90-degree weather, to her enjoying the fresh ocean breeze from her balcony, to her night time walks on the beach, I related to her every move, her every reflection and it almost felt like I went on the trip with her! Through the book I learned the importance of hitting the pause button in life and to gather one’s thoughts, dreams and hopes for the future, no matter how unconventional it seems to others.
My favorite part, was of course related to the title of the book Love in Cancun. It happened at the most unexpected place and at the most unexpected moment, but she embraced the idea with an open mind and of course an open heart. Even though the moment she found love was expected, it was the most perfect timing for her and for him. That is exactly how doua works. It comes at the most unexpected moments but it always comes in the most perfect moment. That is the power of Allah’s planning if we trust His plan.
The way Ganiyah ended the book was like icing on the cake. It not only spoke to me, but it reaffirmed to me and it was almost like an affirmation that I am on the right track and I have the support of Ganiyah herself. She says, “I pray that Love in Cancun inspires you to connect with your soul. And I hope it inspires you to speak greatness, love and success into your existence because, as I found out after writing this book, your biggest dreams can and will come true if you believe.” Then she states the most liberating (yet scariest) thing, “Thank you so much for reading my story, it’s now time to write yours.”
Will I respond to her request? Only time will tell. For now, I will doua it.
Earlier this week, I was conducting an interview with a psychologist (I must say it was a very interesting interview, the study of the human mind / brain always fascinates me), for work, and I was about thirty minutes from home. After the interview I was debating whether to head back to the office or head back home and work from home. It would be an hour drive to the office and only half an hour back home. I really preferred going back to the office because I would get more work done there than I would at home (too many distractions!). On the way to the interview, my car was giving me problems…nothing new. So my mind kept going back and forth, office or home, office or home. I hate being indecisive because I feel like I put more energy in the decision than in the action!
Can you remember a time of complete indecisiveness? Maybe you were getting ready to go out with a group of friends and you couldn’t decide if you wanted to go with a “BAM, I just arrived” all out look or with a more mellow, “Hey I’m here, what’s up?” kinda look? At the end, did you just wish you just made a quicker decision?
First I decided office, then when I realized how much time I would spend commuting, I decided home. I set the GPS to take me home. Two minutes later, I pulled over and reset the GPS to take me to work, all I could think of was all the distractions I would face when I got home, and I didn’t want to deal with them. After about five minutes I found myself on Route 80 and my car was starting to slow down, even as I hit the acceleration. I quickly decided to pull over and see why my car was doing that. As soon as I pulled over, my car completely shut down. I turned off the ignition and turned it on, a muffled sound and nothing more. Again I turned off the ignition and turned it back on, again, a muffled sound and nothing more. All I could think of was, Alhamdulillah this happened on the shoulder and not twelve feet over to my left, on the right lane of the highway!
I called my mechanic and I decided the best thing to do was to tow it, it probably wasn’t an easy fix. I looked up the nearest towing company to where I was in the middle of the highway on Route 80, and I found a towing company about 3 miles from where I was, Alhamdulillah. I decided to go with them. It was cold, the heat in my car wasn’t working, and I was not dressed warm enough to withstand all of this cold air. As I waited in my car for the tow truck to arrive, the car would sway towards the right from the effects of the wind of the passing cars and trucks. I decided, let me read a few pages of Qur’an, something I aim to accomplish daily, as I wait for the tow truck to arrive. The office mentioned it would not take more than thirty minutes, but from my experience, those thirty minutes could very easily be an hour.
In less than 15 minutes I heard the beep beep beep sound of the tow truck backing up in front of me. I was so thankful because I was sitting in my cold car trying not to be upset at my heat not working. Instead, I tried to be thankful for all of the times it was working. I took this moment to reflect, sometimes Allah (swt) takes something away so we could remember the value of it. We get sick, so we become more thankful for our health. Remember the last time you had a stuffy / congested nose? After you got over it, were you not more thankful for all the days you were not congested? Or even worse, a runny nose! After one day exactly, when I have a runny nose, my nose gets super red and it pains me when I use a tissue. SubhanaAllah, after every congestion, runny nose, or cold, I become more thankful for my nose (something I never even think about on a regular basis!).
Enough about runny noses, back to my “stranded on Route 80 story.” As the tow truck driver is getting his truck ready to lift my car, I get out of the car to say hello, I’m thinking of how to make the oncoming awkward car ride back home, less awkward by at least saying hello. He asks what happened, I reiterate the story to him, and he asks, “So it’s not turning on?” I respond, “Nope.” He nods okay. I ask if he needs me to do anything, because now its colder outside on the side of the highway (and the cold wind of the passing cars is really getting to me now), and he says, no “You could take a seat in the truck.” As I was walking to the truck, I decided, I don’t want this to be an awkward thirty-minute car ride home, I have to try to make conversation with this guy. For an introvert like me, I plan my “extroverted” moments so that it is less awkward and comes off more natural. (Maybe I can write a post in the future about the secret life of introverts.)
This will be my first time riding in a tow truck.
I’ll let you know in my Route 80 – Part II post how the car ride goes!
I begin with Salaam Alaykum . . . the greetings of peace.
My name is Amaney. Born and raised in New Jersey my whole life (I know, not very fascinating). Always loved reading and going to parks and being in nature. My form of entertainment is sitting at home with a good book, sipping on a cup of hot tea in a quiet room (don’t come between me and my books!). I would choose staying at home with my books versus going out to the mall anytime! (I know weird. To each their own!)
In my former life (working life) I was a Civil Engineer . . . now I am an aspiring writer. I know your probably like, what? From engineer to writer? Yup, from engineer to writer! I’ve realized my true passion lies in learning about Allah (swt) and our rich Islamic history and reflecting on what that means to me growing up Muslim in America today.
Why Once Upon a Wish?
Well first you need to understand the meaning of my name. Amaney means wishes in Arabic. I’ve always loved my name and the meaning behind my name. Only recently have I made the connection between my name wishes, and why I love to dream big.
I’ve realized everything that I currently have in my life was once a wish, then a dream, which I then turned into a doua, which then became, by the will of Allah, a reality. I would love to share my wishes and dreams with you…and would love for you to share yours with me!
I’m a stickler for the saying, “everything is possible.” I wholeheartedly believe that the only thing standing between me and my biggest dreams is an accepted doua.
Everything is possible, if we truly believe it to be.
I believe in purpose. That everyone and everything is in your life for a purpose. That I have a purpose and that you have a purpose. And that there is a purpose to you coming to my page. That there is a purpose to you reading these words off the screen right now.
What is my purpose? For now, it is to share my reflections on life with you and to learn from you. I believe that everyone has something amazing to contribute to society, that everyone has a purpose, that the only reason you may not be contributing right now is because you haven’t discovered your uniqueness yet. But trust me, you have something beautiful to give!
Bismillah, I begin my first post.
Bismillah, what does it mean? Why are we always told to start everything with Bismillah?
Bismillah, translated means “In the Name of Allah.” In the Name of Allah, the Almighty, the Creator of you and me, I begin this post. In the Name of Allah, I begin to type. In the Name of Allah, I am able to think, comprehend, put words together to form sentences that then convey a meaning, and then you are able to understand that meaning. All of this is possible how? Because Allah (swt) has willed it to be so.
SubhanaAllah, if we break down the process that is entailed in communication, it would blow us away. First, Allah (swt) created Adam and Adam only knew what Allah (swt) would teach him. So Allah (swt) taught Adam the names of things, hence the start of language and words. Adam was then able to use the words that Allah (swt) taught him to communicate with his family.
You want to know the value of terms and words? Let’s imagine a world without terms and words. If you wanted to ask someone where the bathroom was, without using words, how would you? You would have to resort to a form of sign language. You would act out what someone does in the bathroom, maybe by doing the movements of washing your hands. Imagine living a life without words or terms to refer to electronic devices, kitchen utensils, feelings and emotions, and the list goes on. Now can you understand the value of terms and words? It is a blessing from Allah (swt) that He taught Adam these words and from the gecko Adam was able to use language to communicate.
It is another blessing from Allah (swt) that He has made communication easy to learn amongst us. Babies start saying there first words when they are only a few months old and they start to form their first sentences when they are a few years old, Alhamdulillah. Imagine a world where it took babies years to learn the art of communication?
Now in 2018, Allah (swt) has given us the faculties to advance so much in the field of communication, that while I am sitting in my home in New Jersey, I can be communicating with someone in Zimbabwe that I may never meet! Allahu Akbar! This is only possible because Allah (swt) has given mankind the faculties to think on their own and to advance so much in technology, that this has become possible. All of which is only possible because of the blessings He has bestowed on us.
… وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا …
“…And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them…” (Surat Ibrahim, verse 34)