Edition #5, January 23rd, 2021


Assalamualikum, First name / Friend!,

May peace be upon you.



COVID-19, the infamous virus that has turned the entire world upside down in a matter of weeks


Even though this virus has been rampaging throughout the whole world, never would I have thought that I or any of my family members would contract it


We followed the guidelines as much as possible: we ordered our groceries online, stopped all recreational activities outside, started online school, made our dad sleep in a separate room because he had to go to work physically, and washed our hands after touching pretty much anything.


… then, around June, our own lives flipped upside down, along with the worlds.


Starting with my aunt and my grandma, we began to develop some of the symptoms. My grandma and I had a bad cough, and my aunt had what we thought was just a sinus infection. 


We all assumed it was just a bug but considering what was happening all around us, we started to worry. We decided it would be best if we all get tested, and soon enough, one by one, everyone who was sick tested positive for COVID-19


I was terrified for my own sake and my family’s sake. 


With all of the fear and panic that I saw around me on the news and social media surrounding this virus, it was hard to imagine the rest of my life ahead of me.


"what would the future hold?

My symptoms started small with a cough, and slowly I developed more and more; sore throat, chest pains/tightness, fever, body aches, nausea, vomiting, loss of taste and smell, and a horrible sensation of not being able to breathe


There were days that I had lots of energy and danced around the guest room to keep my morale up, but there were days where I couldn’t even seem to get up to do my prayers


And now, six months later, I still have stomach acid problems and chronic fatigue that make daily tasks difficult. 

It was a roller coaster ride, mentally and physically because, not only was my physical state a mess, my emotional state was not pretty either. I was in a constant state of fear and panic. 


I had no control over anything anymore, even over what I ate. I had no idea whether I was going to see the next day, and fear of the unknown was hard for me to see past. Going through that may have elevated my anxiety and created physical health issues, I also learned an important lesson about life. 

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 As a Muslim, I know that death can come at any moment, but having death stare at you in the face is a moment that I think I will never forget. I now thank God every time I wake up because I refuse to take my life for granted. 


I was also extremely grateful to God because, while it was not easy going through what I went through, I had the milder version of the virus. While watching people die from this virus or ending up at the hospital scared me, it was also my drive to keep my head up because that was not me at that moment.


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Focusing on that moment helped that constant anxiety in me, so here is my advice to you


(1) Focus on right now; focus on what you can do right now and how you can improve yourself right now. We will never know what tomorrow brings, so let us not focus on it.


(2) Let us not worry about the things that are out of our control because it is an unneeded burden on our backs that we don’t have to bear. 


(3) Tell your loved ones that you love them before you lose them.


(4) Learn how to do something that you have wanted to learn forever now or learn something new that interests you.


(5) Pick up the Qur'an or talk to your lord. 


(6) We have no idea when our time is up, so let us not waste today; take advantage of today, take advantage of the time you have and the life you have because you only realize the value of something when you lose it, and that is a lesson I do not want to learn too late. 


May Allah (Swt) keep us all safe and allow us to take the precautions.




Maryam Altalf


Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age,
your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty,
your free time before your work, and your life before your death.”

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ



My Top Reads for 2020!


Here were my top reads in 2020, books that I HIGHLY recommend for spiritual/personal development:

  1. Reclaim Your Heart- Yasmin Mogahed (Spiritual, my favorite)
  2. Secrets of Divine Love- A. Helwa (Spiritual)
  3. The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho (Personal, Fiction, Inspirational)
  4. Atomic Habits- James Clear (Personal, Prioritizing, Healthy-Habit Implementation)


About Our Committee Leaders:

Anum Tayyab is currently a senior attending Westside High School. With a sincere passion for English, she's also founded “The Writer’s Block,” an organization that advocates for healthier mediums of expression. 

Maryam Ataf is currently a senior attending Klein Cain High School. She's taken on many leadership roles and is passionate about the arts, STEM, and community involvement.