About being 50% Syrian

I don’t like absolutes; everything is relative, even identities. I was blessed with a mother and grandmother (the latter being my late Syrian Teta who taught me Sufism and told me endless stories about her life’s journey in Syria) whose philosophies in life (despite being worlds apart) include a lose definition of “identity.” I was raised “Arab” – all of the bed time stories my grandmother told me about my ancestors included exotic places like Morocco, Syrian women carrying their Safartaas (doggy bag) to Turkish baths where they spent the day bathing, chatting and eating; Lebanese, Moroccan and Syrian grandmothers who were so strong famous Sheikhs couldn’t look them in the eye when they argued in Fiqh, Hadeeth and other Islam-related topics. The stories were also about Sufi ancestors who hailed from Tunisia, Sufi relatives who married into the family of  my  mother’s – and who came from Palestine, Syria and elsewhere, Sufi leaders my grandfather loved and followed and who were buried in Egypt.

With those bed time stories of ancestors traveling Arab territories of every kind for the quest of Sufism, grandmothers who came from different parts of the Arab World, great grand parents who came from every corner of this part of the world, I was raised Arab, a half-Syrian Arab, to be more specific. This half has always carried great significance for me, because the narrator of all of the above mentioned stories was 100% Syrian (my late teacher and Sufi mentor, Teta). Moreover, we spent every single weekend, Eid, vacation, holiday, new year’s, labor day, (you name it), here in Damascus with mom’s family. I lived many years of my childhood believing we went to school in Amman (like Amman was our dorms), and lived in Syria (like Syria was our real home). For a kid, Syria was the place where all the fun and “dalal” (pampering) was.

Another post: On being 50% Syrian

7 Responses to About being 50% Syrian

  1. seeker2008 says:

    I have really liked your blog I must say its very very touching and tought provoking. I am adding it to my blogroll. Thank for writing


  2. 50% Syrian says:

    Thanks Dave for the sweet message, I’m glad you did 🙂 I tried accessing your blog, but clicking on your username didn’t take me there.

  3. Rizwan says:

    good content & very aesthetic blog… God bless.

  4. islamnation says:

    Nice blog, extremely nice way with words, i just started on a blog yesterday, found out of your today while searching Google about pure evil ( bakaloria) and now trying to learn blogging from your works ( no not plagiarism), Thanks for your blog 😀

  5. Pingback: On being 50% Syrian « 50% Syrian

  6. Nazmin says:

    Salamu aleykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu 50% Syrian:)

    Your blog is wonderful, sooo deep, eloquent and witty, mashaAllah:) I have accidently stumbled over it after googling Mawlana Sheikh Nazim’s (may Allah sanctify his secret) advise on quiting smoking as InshaAllah tomorrow I’m saying good-bye to my ‘best friends. I was laughing when got to the part of your article when you were driving with blusting music, hair everywhere,…and then the hours of reflectiion, haha, how similar we humans are (since haven’t reached fana’ yet, may be not yet but inshaAllah yet) happy to notice the more visible unity), its like you were writing about me. Loved your ‘impression on others’ too, sooo dificult even under the guidance, and so confronting when you are entering the tunnel of your nafs, and absolutely loved (well cant be any other way really) Mawlana Sheikh Nazim’s article about the ant of the broken leg, even shed a tear over the hope part. So thank you 50% syrian for some great contemplation points and quit smoking extra-motivation;), may Allah bless you

  7. 50% Syrian says:

    You’re most welcome, Nazimin 🙂 Thank you for passing by. I learnt from the great Sheikhs (Ibn Arabi included) to say “inshAllah” right after the intention, not before it. This is stated in Al-Kahf Surat. So it’s better to say:
    I’m saying good-bye to my ‘best friends tomorrow, InshAllah 🙂
    May you quit smoking with Madad Sherif from Hadret Sayyidna Mohammad (Salla Allahu Alaihi wa Sallam).

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