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  • Writer's pictureSaira Sufi


Who knew that a quinoa cookie could actually be kinda tasty? Then again, I am exhausted in only the way ISNA can make you and I might feel differently about a quinoa cookie if I was on less than four hours of sleep. O’Hare was surprisingly not horrible this morning and I am glad I took a 7am flight.

As I am on my way back to Virginia, I am reflecting on attending ISNA as a 44 year old divorced single mom. Zakaria wasn’t with me but I do want him to experience ISNA in the future, inshAllah. Although I am sure he would not be pleased with how many times I would make him go through the bazaar. My dad was also at ISNA and because I Pricelined my hotel, I stayed at the Best Western while he was at the Hyatt. I fancy. I didn’t know my dad would be attending when I got my hotel. He was like…you don’t want to stay with your dad? :)

It was awesome seeing the pioneers at the 60th anniversary of ISNA. Kansas City had some strong representation. Also, apparently Shaikh Hamza still has quite the following even though he keeps trying to pass the baton.

I was so pleased to see more than one session addressing mental health and a decent amount of women speakers, including those who don’t wear hijab. Also, the MYNA lectures were so popular that they had to put up a sign for adults waiting up get in. MYNA always was where it was at.

As I was about to head back to my hotel last night, I ran into the one and only Uzma Sabir. Only she could convince me to go out for coffee. Within the span of being around Uzma for ten minutes , I was introduced to an incredible woman and was able to reconnect with at least three others. May Allah protect and preserve her and reward her for all the connections she makes.

It was cute watching all the youngins try to meet their matches. Cute only because I wasn’t in their place. ;)

Back to the bazaar. I bouhjy dresses and a skirt. I don’t even wear dresses or skirts! I also am obsessed with oud now. The stuff I couldn’t stand as a kid…oh, an oud candle? I must have three. Also, halal collagen? Yes, please. Wait, Hadi is with Allah (swt) and Zakaria is 12…but maybe I should still get the Ramadan stuffed moon. I didn’t…but I did discuss how Zakaria would love to see more Noor Kids stuff for his age.

I went to the Community Servive luncheon and watching Ihsan Bagby accept his award was incredible but it was his wife’s speech that brought tears to my eyes. “My love for Ihsan is only surpassed by my love for Allah”.

I walked so much and now have calluses on my feet. I stopped by Target to pick up some Dr. Scholl’s callus removers. Oh yeah, I am classy. ISNA at 44 hits differently.

Many times I was asked where Zakaria was…with his dad. My uncle asked who was taking care of Hadi by accident…I told him that Allah (swt) is. ❤️

As we are about to land, I am thinking about how I am going to get my overly stuffed backpack out from the overhead bin. I hope I don’t break my oud candles!

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