Just for the record: The most important thing you can do for yourself is discern your own sense of conviction. Religion is a human response to some unseen power moving in the soul. In our Western world, totally lacking in a proper psychology of anything above the intellect, such movements in the soul are spooky and untrustworthy, even when they cannot be ignored.
Because I have learned to be self-conscious about such things, I dismiss the concept of objective reality. I don’t pretend to know what’s true in that sense. All I have is my own story, my own reaction to things. If my reaction sounds familiar to you, maybe we can compare notes in our search for inner peace. Even more often, I’m sure, is that folks will use my story as a negative example, accepting my frame of reference but coming to a different conclusion. It’s all good; this is what God intended, as far as I am concerned.
That said, I wanted to clarify some things because conversations I have indicate some questions.
I’ve written at length about my dissatisfaction with Judaism. Further, I suggest that at least some of my problems with mainstream Christianity arise from the effects of Judaism’s effort to squelch it. In other words, Judaism couldn’t stop Christian religion, so it perverted it to make it subservient. There are plenty of other bad influences that contributed to the wandering of Christian religion from the original track, but Judaism looms large due to its self-conscious effort to destroy the teachings of Christ. Do some research on “Judaizers” and you’ll get the picture. There is sufficient evidence to allege that this broad campaign of subversion has persisted ever since the days of Apostle Paul.
At any rate, I assert that the ideal for human understanding rests in the Ancient Hebrew background, and Jews have abandoned that. Further, they don’t want anyone else to have it. They have been keeping an eye on things to prevent it coming back to life. Then again, it’s not really Judaism per se, but The Cult [PDF]. At this point, I’m forced to admit that standard concepts of evidence don’t help much. This is one of those areas where you can take my word for it; either it strikes you as usefully accurate or you walk away.
But I’m convinced The Cult had something to do with how Islam turned out. What we see today is not how it started. The founder was highly mystical; he didn’t trust human reason very much. He was a genuine Arab intellectual in the sense of the broader Ancient Near Eastern traditions. Of course his background was deeply pagan, and it colored the resulting pronouncements of his contemplations. He also had contact with Jews and Christians. But his grand old Eastern Mysticism produces a grand creativity of thought. In the fading glow of his genius after his passing, the intellectual fervor of his followers produced much to be admired.
What is seldom obvious to people who read about that blossom of early Islamic genius is how it was harshly squelched just a short time later. Not all at once, mind you, but the battle between two branches of the Prophet’s successors signaled a shift away from the fully mystical approach to things. There was a sort of lock-down that descended over the whole thing. The golden age of tolerance and wisdom and great art was already a myth by the time Muslims began to conquer slices of Europe. The alleged glory of Andalusian nirvana in Spain is sheer propaganda; it was brutal and ugly with a nice paint job.
Now we have Islam that is dominated by the form of mysticism with none of the ferment. There are still grand scholars serving in that religion, but your average Muslim is totally lacking in the self-conscious mysticism of ancient times. The rules are taught, but the deeper mystical awareness is quite rare, and even then, it is often somewhat squelched by fearful restrictions.
I’m convinced The Cult was in on that, but evidence is scant. What isn’t so scant is evidence of the aftermath. Today we can trace the worst forms of Islamic terrorism to agents of Zionism, sometimes openly admitted. You can research the Donmeh and the birth of Wahabism and get a partial picture of this. If you understand the way modern espionage — CIA, Mossad, MI6, etc. — is a direct expression of The Cult, then it’s not hard to trace the provocations that created current terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIS. They are funded, trained and equipped by the Western spy agencies. Yes, our own CIA is murdering US troops out on the battlefield in the most perverse and sickening deception you can imagine.
At the same time, we have a massive domestic push to favor Islam by select propaganda agencies in the West. This whole thing is a mind-boggling mess of manipulation. One wing forces it down our throats while another wing of the same team is demonizing it. And just to make sure there’s something to offend everyone, we have another wing on that team pumping traditional Western Christianity, another wing pumping secularism, and Zionists grabbing all the money and influence they can — all at once. And they are all serving the singular purpose of making sure no one can tell what the hell is going on.
You shouldn’t imagine that I idolize Islam; it’s loaded with trash. But I do want to point out now and then where it gets some things right. Keep in mind that the greatest lie is the one standing next to the truth.
© AFP/File / by Tony Gamal-Gabriel and Catherine Marciano | Pope Francis (L) walks alongside Coptic Pope Tawadros II (R) during a visit to Cairo on April 28, 2017
CAIRO (AFP) – For a minority devastated by a series of church bombings that killed dozens of Christians, it was a chance for a rare joyous respite.
Despite fears of another jihadist attack, thousands of Catholics waited for hours on Saturday to enter a heavily guarded stadium in the Egyptian capital to pray with Pope Francis.
It was, said Coptic Catholic engineer Maged Francis, a “historic occasion”.
“It’s unlikely it will ever happen again,” he said.
“Today joy has eclipsed the sadness of the last few weeks.”
Outside, armed security personnel stood guard and checked vehicles bringing in the pilgrims, while helicopters flew overhead.
Inside a choir sang “Hallelujah, Hallelujah” as the smiling pontiff entered and circled on a golf cart, waving to the crowds who released yellow and white balloons, the colours of the Vatican flag.
The faithful filled up the stadium’s terraces and chairs neatly lined up in front of a main stage sheltered by a large white canopy where the pope led a mass of peace.
Well-wishers waved flags as the pontiff advanced slowly along a red carpet adorned with yellow and white flowers.
The pope — flanked by bodyguards who scanned the crowd from behind their black sunglasses — bent down smiling to greet children wearing the gilded headgear of ancient Egypt’s pharaohs.
Hymns in Italian, Arabic and French resounded across the playing field, as the pontiff bowed before a portrait of the Holy Family escaping to Egypt, and kissed the altar on the main stage.
“Peace be with you,” the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics said in Arabic as he started his homily.
“True faith… makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome, but a brother or sister to be loved, served and helped,” he then told the crowds in Italian.
“True faith leads us to protect the rights of others with the same zeal and enthusiasm with which we defend our own,” he said in the speech translated into Arabic.
In the audience, Nabil Shukri followed the pontiff’s words on a service leaflet in Arabic.
“It’s very important that he’s here. We are not scared of going to church in Egypt,” he said, holding a Vatican flag.
Nagwa Kamal, a maths teacher at a Coptic Catholic school in Cairo, said she was delighted to be in the Argentine pontiff’s presence.
“We love him so much. We feel he loves peace,” she said.
“We have lived through difficult moments but we have overcome them,” she said, apparently referring to Coptic church bombings in December and April claimed by the Islamic State group that killed dozens of worshippers.
“Terrorism will not win. It’s peace that counts.”
IS has threatened more attacks against Egypt’s Christians, who make up around 10 percent of the country’s population of 92 million.
Egypt’s Catholic community is estimated at about 272,000, with much of the rest following the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Manal George, who had come from a Cairo middle-class neighbourhood with her nephew to attend the mass, said the pope’s visit brought much-needed cheer to Egypt’s Christians.
“By coming to Egypt, the pope has taken away the sadness to replace it with joy,” she said.by Tony Gamal-Gabriel and Catherine Marciano
It just feels that life has become so hard for me. The shaytan tries to make me believe that it is MY fault that things became like this and if it wasn’t for ME then my life would have been better – I may have been around my closest friends, I may have had more wealth, I may have been living somewhere nicer than where I currently am, and I may not have had to repeat the year.
Allah says in the Quran,
And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.”
Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.
(Surah al Baqarah, 155-157)
So it is part of our test that we will be faced with loss. Allah told us that in the Qur’an. This is something that I’d like to internalise. It is also due to the Qadr of Allah that I faced and am facing what I am today. This was meant to occur to me. My rizq and the rizq of everyone else was decreed from above the seven heavens. He has the power to fix things if I turn to Him directly. And he has so far, I thought I wouldn’t get my student finance so I got a job and worked rigorously. Now, I not only have the funds from what the government has given me, I have extra savings from my job, Alhamdulillah. So Allah has increased me in wealth. I was living in a lonely studio flat, but now I have the pleasure of living in accommodation that is a step up from that in a nicer room where I have more space and it is in a slightly more pleasant location.
Allah gives us advice in the Quran about how we should react, what we should say (inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioun) and the amazing bounties that we will receive from doing so. He has promised us this!
Also, Allah wants to know who is truthful and who are the liars. If we claimed to be Muslims and on the straight path when everything seems to be going fine and dandy, then once we are tested and we face major losses, it drives us away from the deen and we turn to our desires, then that shows the level of our conviction. Nay Allah protect us from hypocrisy. Ameen.
I received a not very nice phone-call from work today after I tried to call in sick many times but no-one picked up. In the end, it was told it was my fault for not trying hard enough to get through to them. Perhaps it is true to an extent as I was not thinking properly as I was stressed. I was threatened with disciplinary action which has stressed me out.
My mind wants to forget about it and so I just wanted to remind myself that I should only fear Allah alone and nothing/no-one else is worth fearing.
It is a hard journey but there are huge rewards promised to the believers at the end for sticking to the straight path.
May Allah make us of the people of Jannah. Ameen.
The condition of being well regarded or honoured esteemed. This is the most general and commonly understood definition of term respect. In fact, the thesaurus describes respect as a courteous and polite regard for peoples feelings and respect, honour, kindness, obedience and tolerance. In religion Islam there is great role of respect. Islam states that it is the duty or responsibility of each and every individual in society to treat all human beings with respect, dignity and honour.
Respect begins with obeying the commandments of ALLAH Almighty and from this respect go to the high standards of morality that are very important in religion Islam. To be one of those people who are successful and got achievements, religion Islam requires that every individual must learn to obey ALLAH Almighty and also treat humankind, animals, our environment, the fellow Muslim with respect. Bearing this in mind that the all Muslims are one unite nation, and if any single part of the nation is in peril or in any kind of danger so too are all its parts, giving respect to each other is very essential. Religion Islam teaches us that we are held answerable and accountable not only for our actions and thoughts but for the influence, we have made over others.
Religion Islam asks us to enjoin the good and better and forbid the bad and evil. Islam binds respect to love, peace and compassion, therefore to fulfil our obligation and responsibilities we should obey ALLAH Almighty and a person must respect the reputation, honour, and privacy of others too. Term respect includes staying completely away from involving in major and minor sins like backbiting, lying, cheating, fraud slander, and unnecessary gossip.
Respect for humanity is staying away from sins and things that will create discord among the people especially among Muslims and lead towards destruction. Respect involves loving for our brothers and sisters whatever we love for ourselves. Respect also includes treating other peoples the way we expect them to treat us and the way we hope ALLAH Almighty will treat us with love, compassion and mercy.
Major sins create barrier between humanity and cause all the misery, conflicts torment, and evil activities in this world. ALLAH Almighty commands us to stay away from all kind of sin. Evil and bad activities like backbiting and cheating, gossip as these things bring about nothing but disgrace and shame. In present time Backbiting has become so widespread that each and every person uses it as a way of expressing jealousy and anger. Those who engage in these kinds of false activities are harming others and disobeying ALLAH Almighty. The sin is grave and for this punishment is severe, but ALLAH Almighty is Merciful and always accepts sincere repentance.
Rahmantours.co.uk is one of the authorized Hajj and Umrah travel agent based in UK offers a range of Umrah Packages 2017 from UK.
Christians voice optimism over pontiff’s visit after series of attacks by Islamist extremistsPope Francis celebrates Mass for Egypt’s tiny Catholic community at the Air Defense Stadium in Cairo on Saturday. PHOTO: /ASSOCIATED PRESS
.By Francis X. Rocca and Dahlia Kholaif
April 29, 2017 7:07 a.m. ET
CAIRO—Pope Francis celebrated Mass for members of Egypt’s small Catholic community on Saturday morning, urging them to hope and forgive those who terrorize and persecute them.
“True faith…makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome, but a brother or sister to be loved,” the pope said in his homily. “Do not be afraid to love everyone, friends and enemies alike.”
The pope spoke less than three weeks after Islamic State terrorists killed more than 40 Orthodox Coptic Christians in Palm Sunday bombings of two Egyptian churches.
The vast majority of Egypt’s estimated 9.5 million Christians, approximately 10% of the country’s population, are Orthodox Copts. Catholics are a minority within a minority, numbering only 272,000 at the end of 2015, according to the Vatican.
While Christians enjoy equality under the law with Egypt’s Muslim majority, they suffer from widespread social discrimination and have been the targets of large-scale attacks and individual killings by Islamist extremists.Christian worshippers hold their tickets as they queue to attend the Mass. PHOTO: KHALED DESOUKI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES .
That experience has brought the separate Christian churches closer in an “ecumenism of blood,” Pope Francis said Friday evening in a meeting with the Orthodox Coptic leader, Pope Tawadros II.
The two popes prayed together at the Church of St. Peter, the site of a bombing by Islamic State in December 2016 that killed 29 people. Pope Francis touched a wall stained with blood of those killed in the attack and looked at portraits of the victims.
At Saturday’s Mass, thousands of Christians—from Egypt and elsewhere—cheered and released hundreds of yellow-and-white balloons into the air as Pope Francis entered Cairo’s Air Defense stadium in an open golf cart.
The pontiff denounced religious extremism, saying that the “only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity. Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him.”
Those words echoed his speech to a largely Muslim audience the day before, in which he condemned killing in God’s name.
During the Mass, a layman read a prayer in French for Christian “martyrs of Egypt” and for those forced to emigrate from the country. Christians have been abandoning Egypt’s north Sinai, a stronghold for Islamic State, which in February issued a call to attack the region’s Christians.
In a speech to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Friday evening, the pope deplored the “murders and the threats that have led to an exodus of Christians from northern Sinai.”In Egypt, Pope Condemns Religiously Inspired Violence Pope Francis opened a two-day visit to Egypt on Friday at Cairo’s Al-Alzhar University, with one of his most forceful and extended denunciations yet of Islamist violence. Photo: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters .
Egypt’s Christians largely supported the rise of Mr. Sisi, who overthrew the elected President Mohammed Morsi in a military coup in 2013, but the recent attacks have shaken confidence that he can guarantee their safety.
The Mass was the only public event during the pope’s 27-hour visit, his seventh to a Muslim-majority country and the second papal visit to Egypt, following that of Pope John Paul II in 2000.
The location of the Mass evoked the region’s history of conflict. Built to commemorate Egypt’s 1967-70 war against Israel, the stadium became notorious after a 2015 clash between police and soccer fans that left 22 people dead.
The stadium has a capacity of 30,000, according to the Vatican, but appeared to be far from full on Saturday, apparently an effect of the extraordinary security measures surrounding the papal visit. Mass-goers were required to arrive hours in advance and to surrender their mobile phones before the event.
Demiana Ezzat, a Catholic 21-year-old university student, said Friday that such complications would deter her from attending.
“But the pope’s presence makes us hopeful that something will change” for Egyptian Christians, Ms. Ezzat said.
“This visit is all about unity, a Christian unity between Orthodox and Catholics, and unity between Muslims and Christians,” said Marian Magdy, 43, who attended the Mass with her family. “It’s what Egypt is all about.”
“Christians needed this after everything we’ve gone through,” said Ibrahim Ramez, 35. “It’s as if God patted our heads.”
Following the Mass, the pope was scheduled to have lunch with Egypt’s Catholic bishops at the Vatican Embassy in Cairo, then meet with priests, nuns and seminarians at the country’s principal Catholic seminary.
Write to Francis X. Rocca at email@example.com
Pope Francis addresses Egypt’s civil authorities: Full text
Pope Francis walks beside Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi in Cairo – AP28/04/2017 17:00 (Vatican Radio) Full text of Pope Francis address to Government Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps.Click here to see our report.
Address of His Holiness Pope Francis
to Government Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps
28 April 2017
Honourable Members of Government and Parliament,
Distinguished Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As-salamu alaykum! Peace be with you!
I thank you, Mr President, for your cordial words of greeting and for your kind invitation to visit your beloved country. I have vivid memories of your visit to Rome in November 2014, my fraternal meeting with his Holiness Pope Tawadros II in 2013, and my meeting last year with the Grand Imam of the University of Al-Azhar, Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyib.
I am happy to be here in Egypt, a land of ancient and noble civilization, whose vestiges we can admire even today; in their majestic splendour they appear to withstand the passing of time. This land is significant for the history of humanity and for the Church’s tradition, not only because of its prestigious past – that of Pharaohs, Copts and Muslims – but also because so many of the Patriarchs lived in Egypt or passed through it. Indeed, Egypt is often mentioned in the sacred Scriptures. In this land, God spoke and “revealed his name to Moses” (JOHN PAUL II, Welcome Ceremony, 24 February 2000: Insegnamenti XXIII, 1 , 248), and on Mount Sinai he entrusted to his people and to all humanity the divine Commandments. On Egyptian soil the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph found refuge and hospitality.
The generous hospitality shown more than two thousand years ago remains in the collective memory of humanity and is a source of abundant blessings that continue to expand. As a result, Egypt is a land that in some sense we all feel to be our own! As you say, “Misr um al-dunya” – “Egypt is the mother of the world”. Today too, this land welcomes millions of refugees from different countries, including Sudan, Eritrea, Syria and Iraq, refugees whom you make praiseworthy efforts to integrate into Egyptian society.
Thanks to its history and its particular geographical location, Egypt has a unique role to play in the Middle East and among those countries seeking solutions to pressing and complex problems that need to be faced now in order to avoid the spread of worse violence. I am speaking of the blind and brutal violence caused by different factors: sheer desire for power, the arms trade, grave social problems and that religious extremism which uses the Holy Name of God to carry out unprecedented atrocities and injustices.
This destiny and role of Egypt are also the reason that led the people to call for an Egypt where no one lacks bread, freedom and social justice. Certainly this aim will become a reality if all are willing, together, to turn words into actions, authentic aspirations into commitments, written laws into enforced laws, by drawing on the innate genius of the Egyptian people.
Egypt thus has a singular task, namely, to strengthen and consolidate regional peace even as it is assaulted on its own soil by senseless acts of violence. Such acts of violence have caused unjust suffering to so many families – some of them are present among us – who mourn their sons and daughters.
I think in a particular way of all those individuals who in recent years have given their lives to protect your country: young people, members of the armed forces and police, Coptic citizens and all those nameless victims of various forms of terrorist extremism. I think also of the murders and the threats that have led to an exodus of Christians from northern Sinai. I express my gratitude to the civil and religious authorities and to all those who have offered welcome and assistance to these persons who have suffered so greatly. I also think of the victims of the attacks on Coptic churches, both last December and more recently in Tanta and Alexandria. To the members of their families, and to all of Egypt, I offer my heartfelt condolences and my prayers that the Lord will grant speedy healing to the injured.
Mr President, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I can only encourage the bold efforts being made to complete a number of national projects and the many initiatives of peace-making, both within the country and beyond its borders, aimed at that development in prosperity and peace which its people desire and deserve.
Development, prosperity and peace are essential goods that merit every sacrifice. They are also goals that demand hard work, conviction and commitment, adequate planning and, above all, unconditional respect for inalienable human rights such as equality among all citizens, religious freedom and freedom of expression, without any distinction (cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Egyptian Constitution of 2014, Chapter 3) . Goals, too, that require special consideration for the role of women, young people, the poor and the sick. Ultimately, true development is measured by concern for human beings, who are the heart of all development: concern for their education, health and dignity. The greatness of any nation is revealed in its effective care of society’s most vulnerable members – women, children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled and minorities – lest any person or social group be excluded or marginalized.
In the fragile and complex situation of today’s world, which I have described as “a world war being fought piecemeal”, it needs to be clearly stated that no civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God. Mr President, you have spoken of this often and on various occasions, with a clarity that merits attention and appreciation.
All of us have the duty to teach coming generations that God, the Creator of heaven and earth, does not need to be protected by men; indeed, it is he who protects them. He never desires the death of his children, but rather their life and happiness. He can neither demand nor justify violence; indeed, he detests and rejects violence (“God… hates the lover of violence”: Ps 11:5). The true God calls to unconditional love, gratuitous pardon, mercy, absolute respect for every life, and fraternity among his children, believers and nonbelievers alike.
It is our duty to proclaim together that history does not forgive those who preach justice, but then practice injustice. History does not forgive those who talk about equality, but then discard those who are different. It is our duty to unmask the peddlers of illusions about the afterlife, those who preach hatred in order to rob the simple of their present life and their right to live with dignity, and who exploit others by taking away their ability to choose freely and to believe responsibly. It is our duty to dismantle deadly ideas and extremist ideologies, while upholding the incompatibility of true faith and violence, of God and acts of murder.
History instead honours men and women of peace, who courageously and non-violently strive to build a better world: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9).
Egypt, in the days of Joseph, saved other peoples from famine (cf. Gen 47:57); today it is called to save this beloved region from a famine of love and fraternity. It is called to condemn and vanquish all violence and terrorism. It is called to pour out the grain of peace upon all hearts that hunger for peaceful coexistence, dignified employment and humane education. Egypt, in building peace and at the same time combatting terrorism, is called to give proof that “al-din lillah wal watan liljami” – religion belongs to God and the nation to all”, as the motto of the Revolution of 23 July 1952 states. Egypt is called to demonstrate that it is possible to believe and live in harmony with others, sharing with them fundamental human values and respecting the freedom and the faith of all (cf. Egyptian Constitution of 2014, Article 5). Egypt has a special role to play in this regard, so that this region, the cradle of the three great religions, can and indeed will awake from the long night of tribulation, and once more radiate the supreme values of justice and fraternity that are the solid foundation and the necessary path to peace (cf. Message for the 2014 World Day of Peace, 4). From great nations, one can expect no less!
This year marks the seventieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Arab Republic of Egypt, which was one of the first Arab countries to establish such relations. Those relations have always been characterized by friendship, esteem and reciprocal cooperation. It is my hope that my Visit may help to consolidate and strengthen them.
Peace is a gift of God, but also the work of man. It is a good that must be built up and protected, respecting the principle that upholds the force of law and not the law of force (cf. Message for the 2017 World Day of Peace, 1). Peace for this beloved country! Peace for this whole region, and particularly for Palestine and Israel, for Syria, for Libya, Yemen, for Iraq, for South Sudan. Peace to all people of good will!
Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to greet with affection and a paternal embrace all the Egyptian people, who are symbolically present in this hall. I also greet my Christian sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters, who live in this country: Coptic Orthodox, Greek Byzantines, Armenian Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics. May Saint Mark, the evangelizer of this land, watch over you and help all of us to build and achieve the unity so greatly desired by our Lord (cf. Jn 17:20-23). Your presence in this, your country, is not new or accidental, but ancient and an inseparable part of the history of Egypt. You are an integral part of this country, and over the course of the centuries you have developed a sort of unique rapport, a particular symbiosis, which can serve as an example to other nations. You have shown, and continue to show, that it is possible to live together in mutual respect and fairness, finding in difference a source of richness and never a motive of conflict (cf. BENEDICT XVI, Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, 24 and 25).
Thank you for your warm welcome. I ask the Almighty and One God to fill all the Egyptian people with his divine blessings. May he grant peace and prosperity, progress and justice to Egypt, and bless all her children!
“Blessed be Egypt my people”, says the Lord in the Book of Isaiah (19:25).
Shukran wa tahya misr! Thank you and long live Egypt!
Last week I was invited to an Islamic forum. The forum was about the path to success. Most likely, when we attend a forum it is either too boring, too clinical/complex or too much for our liking, so we doze off, but to my surprise I was attentive, excited, taking notes and whatnot. I was very much alive, I guess the speakers were way too convincing and I am a fan of almost all the sheikhs that spoke on that day so, it worked well for me anyways.
What hit me hard was ”Probably you guys are thinking success like hitting the jackpot once , and you are sorted out for good” The speaker said. Mind you, not because I didn’t know that success is a never-ending process, but why it hit me was the sheikh challenged my way of understanding ‘the success itself.’ Your Emaan is your success. That was it.
Your path to success is strengthening your faith (Emaan) so work on reviving your faith and you are sorted out.Reviving your Emaan will give you:
The Prophet (SAWS) said, “When Allah loves a slave, calls out to Jibril and says: ‘I love so-and-so; so love him’. Then Jibril loves him. After that he (Jibril) announces to the inhabitants of heavens that Allah loves so-and-so; so love him; and the inhabitants of the heavens (the angels) also love him and then make people on earth love him”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Mu’awiya reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If Allah intends goodness for someone, he gives him understanding of the religion.”
“Those who Believed and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah:
verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” Quran
Now what more success would you ever ask for?Process Of Recharging your Emaan:
Are you seeing success from a different angle now? Please comment your thoughts below.
Love & Peace
LONDON — In 2004, a young London Muslim lawyer named Sadiq Khan shared a platform with five political extremists at a meeting held by the Friends of Al-Aqsa, entitled “Palestine — The Suffering Still Goes On.”
The speakers included Daud Abdullah, who went on to lead a boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2005 when he was deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Dr. Azzam Tamimi, who once said he wanted Israel destroyed and replaced with an Islamic state.
As a leading British Jewish activist described it, the relationship in those days between Khan and the Jewish community was, “difficult… awkward, not comfortable.”
Fast-forward to today and the 46-year-old Khan is now the much-admired mayor of London whose most recent engagement with the Jewish community was an appearance — strongly applauded — at the annual Yom HaShoah ceremony in the capital.
In the last year he has been a frequent face at Jewish communal events, from celebrating Hanukkah in Trafalgar Square in the city center, to backing the community Mitzvah Day initiative. His has been a strong voice against anti-Semitism, and he most recently trenchantly called for his predecessor as mayor, Ken Livingstone, to be dismissed from the Labour Party after a tribunal found Livingstone guilty of bringing the party into disrepute.
Before his election as mayor last year, Khan was, since 2005, a fiery Member of Parliament with the Labour party, representing the south London district of Tooting, near where he grew up.
As he completes his first year in office, Khan’s trajectory to become Anglo-Jewry’s favorite Labour politician is certainly noteworthy.
When The Times of Israel spoke with Khan this week in a sports stadium pressroom, high above a verdant green pitch where the Yom HaShoah event for 2017 took place, he laughed and said he might be described as “just the Jewish community’s favorite politician, full stop.”
‘The Jewish community’s favorite politician, full stop’
But it’s certainly a title he has fought hard to earn. Back in 2004, before he entered Parliament, Khan, one of eight siblings and the son of a bus driver, was a Muslim firebrand.
A local Labour councilman, he headed the legal committee for the Muslim Council of Britain, chaired the human rights group Liberty, and, among other controversial positions, acted as the UK lawyer for the Nation of Islam’s leader, Louis Farrakhan. He was, in fact, a thorn in Anglo-Jewry’s side.
For the diminutive Khan, who speaks at a mile a minute — his enthusiasm sometimes causing him to trip over his sentences — the turning point came in 2008 when he was appointed faith minister, and began, for the first time, to meet Jewish leaders on a different kind of playing field.
He recognized, he says, that “Being a Jewish Londoner is a challenge… I didn’t fully understand the scale of anti-Semitism. I began to understand the correlation between tension in the Middle East and the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK. Even though I knew the issues, the penny dropped then.”
As faith minister he was charged with implementing the recommendations of MP John Mann’s All-Party Parliamentary Report on Anti-Semitism, and it brought Khan firsthand experience on the front line of Jewish communal politics.
He met and became friends with, he says, leaders of the Community Security Trust and the Board of Deputies. He also began to visit synagogues — in some of which he had the opportunity to break the Ramadan fast.
Khan is an observant Muslim and his religious devotion has certainly won him some fans in the strictly Orthodox Jewish community. He also established good relations with Nightingale House, a ground-breaking Jewish home for the aged, which is in his former constituency.
Once he was selected as Labour’s candidate for mayor, Khan hit the ground running. But it was still a surprise — and a line drawn in the sand — that his first public engagement after his election as mayor in 2016 was an appearance at the community’s Yom HaShoah event.
Saying he was “honored” to make a return visit this year, Khan gives every indication of being both awed and humbled by the Holocaust survivors with whom he comes into contact. He regularly makes a point of talking about the importance of Holocaust education for all school students, not just Jewish ones.
He can probably attribute some of his success with Jewish voters to sticking to his pre-election pledge not to use the office of mayor to comment on foreign affairs. Staying neutral on the controversies of the Middle East plays much better with the Jewish community — especially with recent comments by Ken Livingstone, his predecessor as Labour mayor, fresh in voters’ minds.
The mayor has, of course, an extraordinarily complex agenda which encompasses many issues facing today’s diverse London community.
“There are challenges our London community faces, and my job as mayor is to solve them,” he says.
“For example, freezing Transport for London fares, and bringing the night tube [underground rail service] on-stream. We had plans in relation to solving the housing crisis so that we can offer affordable homes in the city, we had plans to clean up the air in London, to restore neighborhood policing.”
But then came Brexit, Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, a development which Khan admits he did not foresee and did not initially have plans in place to challenge.
‘One of the biggest challenges I have had is to remind ourselves, and the world, that London is open for talent’
“The thing about London,” he says, “is that it is the engine of our country, and our country’s success is contingent on London doing well. London relies hugely on access to a single market, on a customs union, on the ability to attract talent. So one of the biggest challenges I have had is to remind ourselves, and the world, that London is open, open for talent. We’re going to carry on being a place where business can come and invest.”
Dealing with the fallout from Brexit has taken up most of the mayor’s time in recent months.
But he has more optimistic news to impart: “More than half of my deputy mayors are women, we have the first ever woman Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the first ever woman London Fire Brigade Commissioner, 10 of my 16 business board advisers are women, so I always say I am a proud feminist in City Hall.”
Not everything has gone the way he would like, of course. He has succeeded in his bid to push up the minimum “living wage,” but has not done so well in tackling the housing crisis in London. As Khan says, “I’ve always said that dealing with housing would be a marathon, and not a sprint.”
And Brexit, he says, has led some developers to worry about investing in housing — “but that is outside my control.”
When asked how he would characterize his relationship with the Jewish community, Khan says, “I judge all Londoners equally. The great thing about London is that you are accepted for who you are, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, a member of an organized faith or not. I don’t like to talk about ‘tolerance.’ You should be respected and embraced, not tolerated. You tolerate a toothache, not a person.”
‘You should be respected and embraced, not tolerated. You tolerate a toothache, not a person’
He reels off a list of occasions when he has encountered the Jewish community: Pesach (and he says Pesach, not Passover), Hanukkah, the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street last year.
“That’s part and parcel of the job of being mayor,” says Khan, giving every sign of enjoying himself. He loves the diversity, he says, and indeed the day before the Yom HaShoah event he was trumpeting his pride as an Englishman while Londoners celebrated St George’s Day.
But it’s not all a bed of roses. Khan says that some things break his heart.
“One of the things that breaks my heart is that simply by virtue of a school being a Jewish school, or a place of worship being a synagogue, there is a need for 24 hour protection, seven days a week,” he says.
‘Nothing is too trivial to report’
“It breaks my heart that there is a need for the CST [Community Security Trust]. It breaks my heart that in 2017 simply by virtue of being Jewish you can be a victim of hate crime. So we have to redouble our efforts. I don’t want any Londoner — and in this context, any Jewish Londoner — not to feel comfortable and confident to report hate crime. Don’t think it’s too trivial. Nothing is too trivial to report.”
We speak, once again, of Livingstone and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that the former mayor’s place in the party would be reconsidered by Labour’s national executive committee. At least publicly, it seems that not much has happened since that declaration.
Khan spreads his hands: “It has to. It has to [happen]. To be fair, the general election has intervened, and I haven’t spoken to Jeremy Corbyn about this, but anti-Semitism is a form of racism, we can’t have a hierarchy of racism where anti-Semitism is seen as less serious than other forms of racism.”
He is aware of the response of many Jewish Londoners towards Corbyn’s Labour Party — but is gamely trying to encourage people to vote for good local candidates, almost despite the party’s leader.
‘We can’t have a hierarchy of racism where anti-Semitism is seen as less serious than other forms of racism’
Nevertheless, some cannot forget that when Khan was still an MP, he was one of those who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for party leader. On the other hand, despite distancing himself from Corbyn since becoming mayor — he even backed Labour challenger Owen Smith who ran against Corbyn last year to lead the party — he tacitly endorsed him after the general election was announced, saying he wanted Labour to form the next government. But it’s hard to think of why any Labour politician would say otherwise.
Khan genuinely believes in Labour solutions to Britain’s problems. Asked if a tiny bit of him had wished to be back in the Commons when the prime minister announced the general election, Khan laughs.
“No, no. I love my job as mayor, it’s the best job in the world. I can be here, making a difference, giving others the helping hand that I had.”
And he, and his young and enthusiastic team, race back to City Hall.
This is an abstract from my journal. It’s totally random and was written a couple of years ago. May be it can serve as a Islamic reminder and motivate you too!?
You should make sure that nothing affects you. Dont get carried away. Dont worry. Dont get hurt. Dont bother. Dont panic. Dont react. Stay calm. Stay focussed. Learn how to focus.Focus on whats important and what matters to you. You are your own competition. Dont let yourself down. Do your best. Expect nothing. Express your feelings, but expect not. Be selfish about your time, your time is important. Your time is the most valuable treasure. Once lost, never found. You are meant to be great cook, fittest, healthiest, nicest and best muslim. You hav goals in life, you have no time to waste. Your life is valuable. Your time is precious. Your time is worthy. You aremeant to achieve some thing. You have a purpose in life. Every action, deed, word thought is being recorded and will be presented to you. You will be judged and rewarded accordingly. There’s no second chance. There’s no coming back. Its now or never. You won’t remain young forver. Certain things can only be achieved in youth. You are at ur prime age; with health, mental capability and fitness in ur hands. You are not going to be the same tomorrow. Today is special. Tomorrow may not be there for you. Tomorrow is not promised. Today is the greatest day for all you want. You are not gonna be as young as you are now. Give your best, because you want only the best and Allah doesnt reduce the reward, he pays in full. Work hard now and receive your full wages in jannah. Let nothing deter you. YoU are strong. Stronger than shaytan. Shaytan is your enemy. You don’t make friends with enemies. You don’t make friends with people who only wish evil for you. You don’t listen to people who are liars and deceivers, people who are planning for your downfall. You don’t collaborate with dem. You don’t cooperate with them. You fight them. You constantly fight them. You dont let them win. You win. You defeat them. You keep defeating dem until they get exhausted. You don’t get tired. Because you are determied and persistent. You know what’s good for you, and you chase it. You dodge the devil and move ahead. You have knowledge and you implement it. You are not jahil. You are fully aware. You hav been warned and intelligent is the one who takes heed. And you are intelligent enough and you know it. You don’t get fooled by shaytan. You fool him. You despise him, you hate all his methods, you hate everything about him. He is the only enemy you have and the worst ever.And you fight him wid all your power, all your strength, all your energy. Because you hav to win. You only win. You are a strong fighter. YoU don’t give up. You nevr give in. Its all between you and Allah, only you and Allah. And he is qawi, wali a strong helper and protector. YOU ARE IMPORTANT, YOUR TIME IS IMPORTANT.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘OPEN DOORS’ CHRISTIAN WEBSITE)EX-GOVERNOR AHOK STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM April 26, 2017 by Open Doors in Prayer updates
Basuki Cahaya Purnama “Ahok,” a Christian and ethnic Chinese, and Jakarta’s first non-Muslim governor in 50 years, lost re-election on April 19. The next morning, his blasphemy trial continued with the prosecutor demanding a sentence of 1 year imprisonment and 2 years’ probation.
What is surprising in this development is that the prosecutor did not use the original charge of blasphemy, which had resulted in mass protests against Ahok for several weeks. Instead, he is now charged for “expressing hostile feelings or hatred towards a particular group.” In this case, the particular group refers to his political opponents.
“God gives the authority and so God alone can take it back,” said Ahok to his supporters after the quick count which confirmed his loss. “No one is allowed to rule without God’s permission. I once lost in the governor’s election in 2007, but then I still became Jakarta’s governor. So, don’t be sad. God knows best.”
As much as they could have anticipated the election results in the current political climate, the Christian community could not help but feel deeply sadden and disappointed. Pray for God to continue to work good for Ahok and his future. Pray also for peace to be restored and for God’s justice to prevail in Ahok’s trial.
Father, we pray Your protection over Ahok in the wake of this political defeat as he faces a trial because of his faith in Christ. As he proclaimed, You put him in office and even now, in the midst of defeat, You still know best. We pray now for the Christians in Jakarta, that You will protect and encourage them in this disappointment. We pray for peace to be restored following the bitter election season and we pray for Ahok’s protection and for justice to be accomplished as the trial progresses. In the name of Jesus, who “works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6). Amen.
“ Allah senantiasa memindahkan diriku dari tulang-tulang sulbi yang baik ke dalam rahim-rahim yang suci, jernih dan terpelihara. Tiap tulang sulbi itu bercabang menjadi dua, aku berada di dalam yang terbaik dari dua tulang sulbi itu “. ( Hadits Syarif).
Muhammad saw lahir dari seorang ibu bernama Aminah binti Wahb. Hadist diatas adalah cerminan bahwa Aminah adalah seorang perempuan yang suci dan terpelihara. Ayah Aminah adalah seorang terkemuka dari bani Zuhrah. Moyangnya adalah berasal dari bani ‘Abdu Manaf bin Zuhrah bin Kilab. Sementara moyang ibu Aminah adalah ‘Abdu ‘Manaf bin Qushaiy bin Kilab. Jadi nasab mereka bertemu di Kilab.
Sementara itu ayah Muhammad saw adalah Abdullah bin Abdul Mutthalib bin Hasyim bin ‘Abdu ‘Manaf bin Qushaiy bin Kilab. Dari sini dapat kita ketahui bahwa nasab Rasulullah dari pihak ayah dan ibu juga bertemu di Kilab. Mereka adalah termasuk ke dalam kabilah Quraisy yang dikenal selain sebagai keluarga pedagang yang handal dan sukses juga dihormati sebagai penjaga Ka’bah yang baik dan bijaksana. Kilab sendiri adalah 15 generasi dibawah Adnan, keturunan Ismail as.
Untuk diketahui, menjadi penjaga Ka’bah termasuk menjaga sumber air zam-zam adalah merupakan suatu kehormatan. Itu sebabnya sejak wafatnya nabi Ismail as sekitar 4000 tahun silam perselisihan dalam rangka merebut hak untuk menjaga rumah yang disucikan tersebut sering kali terjadi. Diantara tugas penting penjaga Ka’bah adalah bertanggung-jawab terhadap kelangsungan upacara haji seperti tawaf, sai, pembagian air zam-zam, pembagian makanan, keamanannya dll.
Tak seorangpun yang tak kenal Abdul Mutthalib. Ia adalah seorang kabilah Quraisy dari bani Hasyim sejati, penjaga Ka’bah yang amat dihormati. Abdul Mutthalib mempunyai 10 orang anak lelaki. Abdullah adalah yang termuda.
Menurut kabar, tiga puluh tahun sebelum kelahiran Abdullah lelaki gagah ini pernah bernazar bahwa ia akan berkurban dengan menyembelih salah satu putranya bila ia memiliki 10 anak lelaki. Pada waktu itu masyarakat Arab memiliki keyakinan bahwa anak lelaki adalah lambang kehormatan. Sebaliknya anak perempuan adalah lambang kegagalan, kenistaan dan keterpurukan.
“ Dan apabila seseorang dari mereka diberi kabar dengan (kelahiran) anak perempuan, hitamlah (merah padamlah) mukanya, dan dia sangat marah. Ia menyembunyikan dirinya dari orang banyak, disebabkan buruknya berita yang disampaikan kepadanya. Apakah dia akan memeliharanya dengan menanggung kehinaan ataukah akan menguburkannya ke dalam tanah (hidup-hidup)? Ketahuilah, alangkah buruknya apa yang mereka tetapkan itu”.(QS. An-Nahl(16):58-59).
Hingga saat itu nazar tokoh Quraisy ini memang belum dipenuhi walaupun ia telah memilki 10 anak lelaki. Namun orang yang mengenalnya dengan baik yakin bahwa suatu saat nanti pasti Abdul Mutthalib akan melaksanakan nazar tersebut. Bagi masyarakat Arab apalagi bila yang bernazar itu adalah pemuka Mekah dan penjaga Ka’bah, nazar baik itu untuk kebaikan atau keburukan adalah suatu janji tertinggi terhadap Sang Khalik. Menurut keyakinan mereka tidak memenuhi nazar adalah dosa besar. Sementara bagi pemuka masyarakat tidak memenuhi nazar sama dengan mencoreng muka sendiri. Kehormatan adalah taruhannya.
Itu sebabnya suatu hari Abdul Muttahlib mengumpulkan ke 10 anaknya untuk diundi siapa yang harus disembelih. Abdul Mutthalib sebenarnya bukanlah lelaki kasar dan jahat. Ia hanya terikat dengan nazarnya sendiri yang di belakang hari ternyata amat membuatnya tertekan. Ia amat berharap kalau saja undian itu tidak jatuh ke putra bungsunya, Abdullah yang sangat disayanginya itu sudah merupakan keberuntungan yang besar baginya.
Namun apa boleh buat undian justru jatuh kepada Abdullah. Walaupun kecewa, Abdul Mutthalib tetap terlihat tegar melaksanakan nazarnya. Tampak bahwa kecintaannya kepada Sang Khalik dan harga dirinya lebih tinggi daripada hatinya yang hancur.
Di tengah suasana tegang itulah tiba-tiba terdengar bisik-bisik bahwa masyarakat tidak setuju terhadap perbuatannya itu. Seorang pemuka Quraisy lainnya akhirnya tampil dan mengingatkan bahwa perbuatan Abdul Mutthalib itu dapat menjadi contoh yang tidak baik. Bagaimanapun mereka tidak setuju, menyembelih anak sendiri apalagi anak lelaki adalah suatu perbuatan yang tidak dapat dibenarkan. Mereka menganjurkan agar Abdul Muthalib segera pergi mencari seorang ahli nujum untuk menanyakan apa yang sebaiknya ia perbuat.
Beruntunglah, ternyata sang ahli nujum yang dipercaya masyarakat itu menganjurkan agar Abdul Mutthalib menebus anak lelaki kesayangannya itu dengan menyembelih 100 ekor unta. Dengan demikian maka Abdul Mutthalibpun bebas dari nazarnya.
Pernikahan dan kehidupan Abdullah bin Abdul Mutthalib dengan Aminah binti Wahb.
Abdul Muthalib telah bebas dari nazarnya. Sekarang ia dapat hidup dan berpikir lebih tenang. Abdullah, putra bungsunya telah cukup dewasa. Sudah waktunya ia menikah dan berkeluarga. Sebagai ayah yang baik ia tahu betul siapa jodoh yang paling tepat bagi putranya itu.
Sejak kecil Abdullah telah mengenal Aminah binti Juhra dengan sangat baik. Keluarga Aminah adalah keluarga yang memiliki reputasi baik di mata masyarakat Mekkah. Kedua keluarga telah menjalin hubungan sejak lama. Sebagai ayah yang penuh perhatian, walaupun ia sibuk dengan berbagai urusan kota Mekkah yang dipimpinnya, ia menyadari bahwa putranya itu memiliki perasaan khusus terhadap Aminah. Karena kebiasaan dan adat Arab, keduanya memang sejak lama tidak pernah bertemu lagi. Sesuai adat yang berlaku turun temurun, begitu Aminah menginjak usia remaja, ia tidak lagi dapat keluar rumah secara bebas. Ia dipingit hingga seorang lelaki melamarnya.
Itu sebabnya masyarakat tidak terkejut ketika suatu ketika Abdul Mutthalib datang menemui keluarga Aminah untuk melamarnya. Gayungpun bersambut. Dengan suka cita, atas persetujuan sang gadis, keluarga Aminahpun menerima lamaran tersebut. Maka tanpa menunggu lebih lama lagi menikahlah keduanya. Tentu saja masyarakat kota Mekkah ikut berbahagia mendengar pernikahan dua anggota kabilah Quraisy dari bani Hasyim dan bani Zuhrah yang mereka hormati tersebut.
Sayangnya bulan madu yang dilalui pasangan muda tersebut amatlah singkat. Tak lebih dari sepuluh hari kemudian tugas telah menanti. Abdullah harus segera kembali bergabung dengan kafilah dagang keluarganya. Mereka akan mengadakan perjalanan jauh yang telah lama dijalani keluarga besar Quraisy, yaitu ke Syam. Orang-orang Quraisy memang terbiasa pergi berdagang ke utara ( Syam)pada musim panas dan ke selatan ( Yaman ) pada musim dingin.
“Karena kebiasaan orang-orang Quraisy (yaitu) kebiasaan mereka bepergian pada musim dingin dan musim panas. Maka hendaklah mereka menyembah Tuhan Pemilik rumah ini (Ka`bah). Yang telah memberi makanan kepada mereka untuk menghilangkan lapar dan mengamankan mereka dari ketakutan”.(QS.Quraisy(106):1-4).
Namun waktu yang amat singkat tersebut bukannya berarti tidak memiliki makna penting. Karena beberapa hari setelah pernikahan Aminah sempat bercerita kepada suaminya tercinta bahwa ia bermimpi melihat sinar terang benderang memancar di sekeliling dirinya. Sinar itu begitu terang hingga seakan ia bisa melihat istana Buchara di Syam. Kemudian ia mendengar suara : “Engkau telah hamil dan akan melahirkan orang termulia di kalangan umat ini”.
Tampaknya mimpi inilah yang menjadi penyemangat hidup Aminah selama kepergian Abdullah. Ia benar-benar menyadari bahwa perjalanan dagang yang dijalani suaminya bakal memakan waktu berminggu-minggu bahkan mungkin bulanan. Ya Aminah harus sabar. Hingga suatu hari di bulan kedua ia mendengar kabar kedatangan rombongan dagang suaminya. Sungguh senang hati Aminah. Ia segera mempersiapkan diri menyambut kepulangan suami tercinta.
Namun kegembiraan itu segera sirna karena ternyata Abdullah tidak berada di antara rombongan tersebut. Abdul Mutthaliblah yang langsung datang mengabarkan bahwa Abdullah tiba-tiba menderita demam tinggi ketika dalam perjalanan pulang. Akhirnya ia terpaksa ditinggalkan di Yatsrib ( Madinah).
“ Tidak usah terlalu khawatir anakku. Suamimu akan segera kembali begitu ia pulih. Aku telah meminta Al-Harits, saudaranya, agar menjaganya selama ia sakit. Bersabarlah Aminah, berdoalah agar ia segera sehat ”, begitu hibur Abdul Mutthalib kepada menantunya.
Tetapi rupanya Allah berkehendak lain. Setelah menanti dua bulan lamanya akhirnya Al-Harits pulang ke Mekkah sendirian dengan membawa kabar duka bahwa adik bungsunya yang baru beberapa bulan lalu lolos dari nazar ayahnya yang mengerikan itu, telah meninggal dunia.
Betapa berdukanya Aminah. Dalam usianya yang masih demikian muda ia harus kehilangan suami yang telah memberinya kebahagiaan walau hanya sejenak. Dan dalam keadaan hamil pula.
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One of the people of the past, when talking about Ibn al Muhayreez (rh), said that he had 2 qualities which were not found with others:
This shows that he was very balanced, as we are good in one but neglect the other.
Yesterday brought into the day a deepening of a struggle – my Christian faith against this one other faith. My Christian space against this particular one. My rights against it. This is not a new struggle, it’s been close to twenty years, of being trampled upon, abused – by those who adhere to the tenets of this particular religion. This is a religion of a thousand dictates. Here there is no such thing as a conscience – they do not even recognize it. All it seeks is a rigid and robotic adherence to its tenets, even as the rights of the living and the unborn are abused, the innocent maimed or killed, marriages and family life destroyed by polygamy, abortion, incest and child marriages.
And yesterday, I reached some kind of breaking point. I received news that my attendance was required at a national programme for a specific work community whose members come from every race and religious creed. But I soon found out that the programme was going to be interpreted through the lens of this particular religion. The greatness of this religion, to be specific.
I felt as if I was tethering on the threshold of spiritual nausea. We had just heard news of an 11 year old who had died from abuses inflicted on him by a religious school warden (that religion, again). It brought back memories of last year when my own child had been hit at school and the lengths we had to go through to ensure our children were safe at school here.
And now hearing that I had to participate in an event that was merely an excuse to extol the eminence of this farcical and cruel religion, it took all I had. I had gone past the last gates of tolerance and patience. I had nothing left in me.
In raw desperation, I looked into familiar nooks for consolation, hope. But it felt like pulling on locked doors. Until night came, and with it, our family Rosary time. I flung myself, heart and soul into the recitation of the Luminous Mysteries. Tried meditating on the mysteries, tried emptying myself to be filled by God Himself – but this was not one of those days. I was too filled and full of my own pain; I needed to find the stopper that plugged the keg, only then could I find release.
Please help me, Mother Mary, please help me, I begged. Take this Cross away or give me the strength to face it, to carry it.
Rosary ended with no discernible sign that the bitter chalice was not to be mine to drink from. I went to bed exhausted. I love Thee, O Lord, I love Thee, O Lord, I love Thee, O Lord, I prayed from the depths of my weakness, seeking the only Hand that could comfort me.
When I awoke, I was less than ready to face the day. The tough work week had left me tired out; the struggle I was now facing, depleting my energy even more. But it was an important work day and I didn’t dare lie back for some extra minutes in case I slept off. Not this on this day, I told myself firmly. As I sat up, a song burst in my head.
On this day, O beautiful Mother,
On this day we give thee our love.
Near the, Madonna, fondly we hover,
Trusting thy gentle care to prove.
On this day we ask to share,
Dearest Mother, thy sweet care;
Aid us ere our feet astray
Wander from thy guiding way.
The song beat out any other thought. It had been very long since I had had a song flood my mind like this. But I had gone through this enough times to know the hymn held heaven’s message to me. As I listened to the it play over and over in my head, I realized two lines were standing out more.
Aid us ere our feet astray
Wander from thy guiding way.
I groaned when I realized what it meant. By asking to be saved from facing this struggle I was going through with this other religion, by asking to be kept away from it, I was walking away from the path Our Lady had illumined for me.
Nevertheless, this was one time when I wanted to be wrong about what I had discerned. Maybe there is some other line for me in this hymn, I thought.
I looked up the hymn, and traced every line of its lyrics. My heart remained unmoved till the last verse ~
Fast our days of life we run,
Soon the night of death will come;
Tower of strength in that dread hour,
Come with all thy gentle power.
For whatever reason, the journey of my soul and spirit was along this route of thorns and knives. This programme I was to attend was a mountain in my way. And no one scales a mountain to reach the other side by shimmying up the nearest tree.
I went resignedly to work, and was soon caught up in the busyness of the day. But a grey shadow of regret remained. Regret that my prayer had not been answered differently. A regret marked by weariness over the many more mountains like this that remained to be faced and overcome.
Nonetheless, I turned my heart back to heaven. Help me to face it, I slumped, defeated at last.
Late into the night, there was a knock on the door of my spirit, and the Conversion Prayer dictated by Jesus to St Faustina Kowalska was laid before my eyes.
My despondent spirit jumped to life. Taken aback, I looked closely at the prayer I have prayed very often before.
If you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith, on behalf of some sinner, I will give that soul the grace of conversion.
“O Blood and water that gushed forth from the heart of Jesus, as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You”.
Conversion of souls! My spirit leapt at the promise. So that was where this journey was heading to! That was why this suffering, and perhaps more later, could not be circumvented. It was not about me. It was about saving souls.
Something drew me back to the prayer. Returning, I saw one little word shine out more than the others:
I had asked for the cup of suffering to be taken away. Despite the almost 2 decades long background to my suffering with the members of this religion, the coming Cross in the form of the programme I was to attend was minuscule in contrast to the immense tearing of soul that others had to endure. Could I honestly say I was disturbed by the increasing loss of souls to the tyranny of this religion, and yet refuse to partake in their salvation just because the path of my compliance lay among deadly thorns and knives? What was the use of lamenting if I was not willing to be Jesus’ Hands and Feet on this earth, in every way, to help return these prisoner hearts and souls to the Heavenly Father?
Where was my contrition?
In bringing this illumination to me, an angel had ministered to me in the desert of my present struggles. I got to my feet, still unsure of myself, yet now firmly anchored in the refreshed certainty that God would provide all that was needed. Just as Jesus died to save us, so must I face this night of death for the conversion of souls.
Aid us ere our feet astray
Wander from thy guiding way.
I had sought to leave my Cross. To it I now return.
It is late at night here, and I am currently sitting with my laptop, looking up a few things and jumping from one link to another. I am in Northern-Norway, and tonight it will not get completely dark outside. When I look out the window, I can still see the dark blue in the sky. Sunset was at 10 pm this evening, and in a few short weeks, the sun will not set at all. Though I am tired, I am waiting for the next prayer time to begin, so that I can pray and then go to sleep. Now that the late-night prayer (isha) and the dawn prayer (fajr) are so close to each other, I find it easier to just stay awake between the two prayers.
It has been a strange few months, and I have not been able to blog consistently like I hoped for. I finished my bachelor’s degree in the United States last May, and at the beginning of this year, I decided to move home until I start my master’s degree. I was nervous about coming home, and I dreaded it a little as I knew that it would be different. I moved to the US three and a half years ago, and I only visited home once since then. My family and my friends here has gotten used to living a life without me while I had gotten used to my own routines and separate life in the US.
I also converted to Islam since the last time I saw my family. May 28, 2016, to be exact. Though it came as a shock to my family, it had been a gradual development for me.
When I left Norway, I had never met anyone who was Muslim. My only exposure to the religion had been through media and a couple of classes that talked briefly about all the main religions of the world. In other words, I knew nothing about Islam. I met a Muslim woman in one of my classes, and I got really curious. I had heard they could not make any independent decisions and that they could easily get offended, so I figured I had to be very careful in my approach to this woman. We ended up in the same group, and upon getting her phone number I realized I had no idea how to talk to her. I was more nervous about sending her a simple text than I had been to talk to my crush in middle school! When I eventually managed to find the courage to talk to her and meet her for coffee, I was pleasantly surprised. She was the nicest woman, and we even had many things in common. We shared a love for our families. We spent much time together going shopping, going to the movies, or getting lunch together. I felt brave when I finally asked her about the way she dressed (hijab) and why she did not eat certain meats such as pepperoni on the pizza. I was intrigued and my friend was not offended by my questions at all.
I continued to ask a few questions now and then, but most of the time I did not think much about Islam or Muslims. After leaving Christianity a few years earlier, I had sworn not to have anything to do with religion ever again and though I was a little curious about how Muslims could live the way they do, I left it at that for a while.
But what is important is that we realise that our actions really do NOT generate/ guarantee results. Results come from The All Able, from God. He uses our efforts to manifest results. Remember that time when you had a really horrible exam but your passed with flying colors, and you absolutely have no idea how it happened? Well there is your proof. He excused your poor performace and gave you a better result from Him, as a a token of His love.
So why then, do we need to work? Why can’t God just give us everything like that? Well it is because of our own accountability and ownership. It is for the same reason your parents let you work to earn your tuition for college, albeit they are very much able to afford it. It is to teach us accountability and take ownership of our achievements.
When Maryam (peace be upon her) was in the pain of delivery, she was asked to shake the tree above her so it would shed fruits for her to eat. Imagine how vigoriously could actually shake it? My guess she probably was barely able to touch the huge tree trunk, let alone shake it. But she did whatever she could, and the tree bowed down to reach her.
So your efforts are subjective at times. Just because you can’t exert as much effort like others does NOT mean your doors to achievements are closed. Sincerity is all that counts. God does not need your efforts to give you. Your efforts are the best you can do in your particular situation, so when you achieve your success, you feel the confidence in seeing the fruits if your labor. It is all for you.
Everyday believers like you and me are not excluded from the Divine Miracles.
Det er sent på natten her og jeg sitter med PC-en på fanget og klikker meg fra den ene til den andre linken. Jeg er i Nord-Norge og i natt blir det ikke helt mørkt ute. Når jeg ser ut av vinduet kan jeg enda glimte den mørkeblå himmelen. Sola gikk den klokka 10 og om noen få uker vil ikke sola gå ned i det hele tatt. Selv om jeg er trøtt, venter jeg på at den neste bønnetiden skal starte så jeg kan be før jeg går å legger meg. Nå som nattebønnen og daggry bønnen er så nærme hverandre synes jeg det er enklere å bare holde meg våken i mellom bønnene.
Det har vært et par uvanlige måneder og jeg har ikke klart å blogge like ofte som jeg hadde håpet på. Jeg fullførte bachelorgraden i USA i mai i fjor, og i begynnelsen av året bestemte jeg meg for å flytte hjem frem til jeg begynner på masterstudiet. Jeg var nervøs for å komme hjem og jeg gruet meg litt fordi alt ville være så annerledes enn det hadde vært. Jeg flyttet jo til USA for tre og et halvt år siden og hadde bare vært på besøk hjemme en gang siden den tid. Familien min og alle vennene mine hjemme var nok vant til å ikke ha meg der, mens jeg hadde blitt så vant til mine egne rutiner og livet mitt i USA.
Jeg konverte også til Islam siden sist gang jeg så familien min. Den 28. mai 2016. Selv om det kom som et sjokk for familien min, hadde det vært en ganske gradvis forandring for meg.
Da jeg forlot Norge hadde jeg aldri møtt noen som var Muslim. Alt jeg visste om religionen hadde kommet fra mediene og et par fag der det ble snakket kort om alle hovedreligionene i verden. Med andre ord visste jeg ingenting om Islam. Jeg møtte en Muslimsk kvinne i en av forelesningene mine og jeg ble veldig nysgjerrig. Jeg hadde jo hørt at de ikke fikk ta selvstendige avgjørelser og at de kunne bli lett fornærmet, så jeg bestemte meg for å trå forsiktig. Vi kom på samme gruppe og da jeg fikk telefonnummeret hennes, fant jeg ut at jeg ikke hadde peiling på hvordan jeg skulle snakke med henne. Jeg var mer nervøs for å sende henne en tekstmelding en jeg hadde vært for å snakke med den jeg var forelska i på ungdomstrinnet! Når jeg tilslutt fikk motet meg opp til å snakke med henne og treffes for en kopp kaffe, ble jeg gledelig overrasket. Hun var utrolig vennlig og vi hadde massevis til felles. Vi var begge veldig glad i familiene våre. Vi begynte å bruke mye tid sammen hvor vi shoppet, så på filmer eller hadde lunsj sammen. Jeg følte meg skikkelig modig da jeg endelig spurte henne om hvorfor hun kledde seg slik (med hijab) og hvorfor hun ikke spiste all slags kjøtt sånn som pepperoni på pizzaen. Jeg var overrasket og den nye venninnen min var ikke fornærmet av spørsmålene mine i det hele tatt.
Jeg fortsatte å spørre noen spørsmål her og der, men for det meste tenkte jeg verken på Islam eller Muslimer. Etter at jeg forlot kristendommen noen år tidligere hadde jeg bestemt meg for å ikke ha noe som helst å gjøre med religioner, og selv om jeg var litt nysgjerrig på hvordan Muslimene kunne leve på det viset lot jeg det bare ligge.