An Arab Poet said

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“Some eyes are restless while other are in sleep,

In meditating that which may or may not occur,

So leave worrying as much as possible,

As carrying the burdens of anxiety is madness,

There is your Lord, who provided you with solutions to yesterday,

And He will similarly provide for what is to come tomorrow.”

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Another said:

“Let events flow in their predestined path,

And do not sleep except with a clear mind,

Between the period of the blinking of the eye and its opening,

Allah changes things from one state to another.”

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 ~

Use Discomfort to Understand Yourself

It’s incredibly simple to lose your temper when ‘that vein’ is touched. 

It’s the easiest thing in the world to say something you’ll totally regret in a moment of rage. Most of all, it almost becomes super fun to vent out about an issue that’s annoying the hell outta you when no one can oppose you.

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Aya, what are you rambling on about? You’re probably wondering. And with good reason. You see, it’s currently 12:30 AM and instead of obeying the sleepy side of my brain and having sweet dreams, I’m obeying the racing of my heart and writing this out instead. Because if I don’t do it now, I might stay awake all night just thinking aimlessly about it.

Why is my heart racing?

It’s this book I’m reading. It’s a novel supposedly based on the history of a very famous woman. However, due to the whims of the author, she has decided to add twists and drama to make a more “intense” plot. And by intense, I mean adding romance where it was never involved, making people cheat on each other, creating enmity between people who were never so… The characters she decides to use are none other than the Prophet Muhammad, his companions, and ultimately his wives. 

I mean… REALLY? The story has been altered altogether. She takes real incidents in history and builds new stories around it. Don’t get me wrong– as a novel, a story, it’s pretty good. But as a “historical” narrative, it’s awful.

Every time I encountered some new frustrating idea, I found myself immediately venting to one of my sisters, or to a friend online on gchat. However, now it’s way past midnight, most people in my house are asleep, so I figured blogging is my only real friend at the moment.

I realized, pondering on my own, just how easy it is to point the finger and say, this is wrong. This is horrific. This is a catastrophe! Something must be done. But you know, what good will complaining do? This book isn’t written by a Muslim author to start with. (Actually, when you look at it from that angle, the book is written with an obvious attempt to portray Muslims as positively as possible.)

So why does it bother us so much when we read something false? What is it that makes us want to pull our hair? Is it anger that the truth is being manipulated with, or is it anger that our beliefs are being challenged?

Sneering at a work of literature when the author is not around to hear it doesn’t prove very beneficial, somehow. If anything, the more I roll my eyes, and get others’ eyes rolling with me, the more self-righteous I begin feeling to the extent that I suddenly begin wondering: Hmm. If it’s pissing me off so badly, why don’t I just stop reading? Why am I continuing? What am I trying to accomplish?

It took me a while to realize that I didn’t actually have a set goal. I’m simply the type of person that must finish something if I start it. (I mean, I read Twilight and gave myself no choice but to finish the trilogy.) Having begun reading The Jewel of Medinah, I really can’t see why I should stop reading it. But, still, why continue?

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Because it takes an extraordinary amount of patience to read about something you totally disagree with. And do nothing but contemplate it. It’s frustrating, irritating, and makes me want to flip over tables sometimes– but none of that is helpful. When you can face your discomfort and really come to terms with why you’re feeling that way, you come to a sort of self-knowledge about yourself. You make yourself more confident in your beliefs by investigating if what you’re presented with is actually the real stuff, and if you don’t know, you ask and find out. It teaches you that life isn’t perfect & people aren’t perfect & things won’t always go the way you want, so deal with it. Use discomfort to your advantage. Enhance others’ awareness, but above all, enhance yours. Don’t assume. Learn to understand before being understood. Learn to act before reacting. Turn something negative into something positive.

Oh wow, it’s 1:07 AM now.

I have a feeling I’m going to wake up in the morning, re-read this and wonder what the heck I was on. But I’ll worry about that when I wake up. (I feel quite at peace now. *Ah, the magic of blogging.*)

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Good night, world! 🙂

–A.S.

A Biblical Love Quote

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There is one passage in the New Testament that I found extremely beautiful; I think if every human being really took this seriously, this world would be a better place.

As you read about what ‘love’ is, do not use the mainstream view of it being only romantic love. There is love also between siblings, parents, friends, neighbors, and ultimately, most importantly, God.

Here we go:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ImageLove never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

[Reference: 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 NIV]

May you have an absolutely lovely day!

Peace be upon you. 🙂

–A.S.

Camel Through Eye of Needle

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I was reading the Bible the other day and came across a quote in which Jesus says:

“Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” [Luke 18:25]

I found that description interesting… vaguely familiar– but was unable to understand why.

Two days later, while reading the Quran, I come across this verse:

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The English translation is this:

7:40 To those who reject Our signs and treat them with arrogance, no opening will there be of the gates of heaven, nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle: Such is Our reward for those in sin.

WOW.

This expression must have been a common one back in the day. I found it rather fascinating and I wasn’t the only one; there are many pictures of the illusion on Google images.

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I thought: why a needle’s eye of all objects? I obviously don’t have the answer, but the use of a needle gave me a new perspective.

Picture this:

We have a camel, a regular sized needle, and you.

  • You stand next to the camel. From his viewpoint, you can see the needle perfectly, even as you step closer and closer to it. It’s there, physically, tangibly, practically and clearly.
  • Now you stand by the needle’s side, pick it up, and look through its eye. At a far distance you can see the camel perfectly; in fact, if looks could deceive, it would appear that indeed, a camel can easily fit through the hole! But as you get closer and closer to the camel, you realize that you can’t see his whole body anymore. You walk closer and closer until all that can actually, physically and really fit is just a strand or two of his fur.

So then, what was all that about?

It was an illusion.

Perspective is everything. It reminds me of someone who has an idea that initially appears completely achievable but over time, it becomes really apparent that it is not realistic.

For example: someone doing evil and corruption on the earth can have the idea that, “Hey… It’s OK. I’ll repent when I get older. I got time.” But as time passes by as quickly as the speed of light, all of a sudden this person is on his death bed and realizes he can’t say the shahada– he is literally unable to. His idea that God could accept his repentance for multiple sins he was not really sorry for was nothing but an illusion. He was looking through the eye of a needle at the camel.

In the Quran verse above, it says that an arrogant person will never enter Heaven until a camel is able to get through a needle’s eye… AKA, impossible. Though from the arrogant person’s view, he does not believe he is in any danger of a hellish afterlife. In fact, by rejecting God’s signs, he is essentially assuming he knows best, he has everything under control, and he (or she, in case you brothers are getting annoyed) is all-powerful.

Until, of course, he  realizes that he got it all wrong. Illusion.

Where am I going with this? Do I have some high-powered lesson to give you from all this?

Hate to break it to you, but– No. These are just some random thoughts about an intriguing metaphor that shows up both in the Bible and Quran. I won’t pretend I’m a scholar of any sort. 🙂

I’ll leave you off with another Google image of it:

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Have a marvelous day!

–A.S.