Ahmad Abdelrahim: Being Mindful of What I Have

Ahmad Abdelrahim is of Palestinian descent. He recalls his favorite memories from Jordan in his reflective story. He is striving to obtain his PHD in physical therapy, and currently works as a CNA nurse assistant. In his free time, he likes to go to comic-cons with his friends and attend Friday prayers at the mosque. His favorite dish is Maklooba with beef.

I really enjoy when my father shares some stories of when he was young. He had fifteen siblings  in Palestine. However, he no longer has that many… three of the siblings died when they were young. For some time, he grew up on a farm, but eventually his family moved to Jordan since there were better paying jobs available. My grandfather worked a couple of jobs, and one of them was as a taxi driver. When he had enough funds, he was able to get a green card for my father and my uncle to come to the U.S.


My grandfather wanted his children to further their education and start a life here. That is exactly what they did. I was born and raised in Chicago. As a matter of fact, I have been told my parents did a fine job at raising me. They taught me how to be a respectful and  honest kid. A lot of people see the kind-hearted person that I am. Furthermore, it’s an important thing to look into as far as identity because you want people to see you as someone that they can rely on, and someone that can assist you in any way possible.


I usually am able to do that with people that come to me. I work in a nursing home as a certified nursing assistant. I often express myself to my residents and co-workers that if there is anything that they need, they can rely on me for help. I always bring a smile on my face to show them that they don’t need to be afraid. I am there to lend a helping hand. I understand that when people look at me and realize that I am someone they can turn to; that makes me feel like I accomplished something and I’m moving forward to being the best version of myself.


One of my favorite and cherished traditions with my family is Ramadan. We fast for twenty nine to thirty days, depending on the moon. The general concept of Ramadan is to try and remain in the company of our loved ones, socialize, give to others, and pray. Since I have a big family, we actually rotate, meeting at different family members’ houses. It is one of my favorite times of the year. We all have dinner together. Often times, it has been years since I’ve seen some of my relatives because our lives become busy with school and work, so it’s times like these that are important to have. We remember that we are all there for each other. It is a time to reflect, pray, and learn from each other.
It has been hard not to notice the current political climate, and how it may have an impact on my future. The U.S. is one of the superpowers in the world and I would like to see our country move forwards. The U.S. has offered citizenship to thousands of people, and even granted some illegals immigrants medical coverage under Medicaid. I still have faith that things will turn out fine. I believe in helping others, and in providing opportunities and resources to people, so they can ultimately be in a position to give back and contribute positively in society.


My greatest accomplishment is passing the CNA program. I am halfway towards my long term goal, which is getting my PhD in physical therapy. I was ecstatic about finally getting a good job since my father has been laid off for a couple of years now. I use my current CNA job while going to school to provide for my family. In addition, I also assist my brother with his tuition so that we can both finish school and secure jobs that will help out our family.

My actions, one would say, falls under one of the pillars of Islam, Zakat. Zakat meaning you pay charity to those who are in need. Someone that is willing to do things for others is one thing but to offer Zakat for those who need debts paid is something that I try to incorporate into my daily work. One of the reasons we have this pillar is to remind ourselves how good we have it. We tend to take granted the things we have in life, and it reminds us to be grateful for what we have. There are more people than we can fathom that are starving, that might not have a decent income, a house to live in, or clean water. So being mindful of this, I have realized how lucky my family and I are.

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