Wednesday, 30 May 2007

On Faith..Again

I've been contemplating the issue of Faith, in its abstract form for a while, I've actually already written a post on it a while back, but I haven't quite made what runs through my mind on that issue quite clear.

This is a time of extreme fragmentation of faith, denominations, sects..sub-sects, branches of sub-sects. and I'm talking across the board here, Sunnis..Shiites, and the sub-divisions among each, Catholic..Orthodox..Protestant..and the rest of denominations in Christianity, Hasidic Orthodox, Haredic Orthodox, Reformist..and the rest of those in Judaism, I'm aware of the existance of more examples, but I'm focusing this brain storm on the three great monotheistic religions, those which I'm affected by and affiliated with, by birth, history, geography and practically all aspects of life, one way or another.

We all share at least one thing in all of the above, the existence of a God, whom we all agree is The Creator of Heaven and Earth, Deliverer of Ultimate Justice, The Bestower of Mercy. Amazingly, His are blessings that are delivered to all humanity, it is us who manipulate and monopolize God's mercy, His blessings, His justice, we claim them to be ours, for us alone, and all those who seek Him in a different way are doomed, God wouldn't listen, He wouldn't answer, He's ours..and for you to be answered, you have to be one of us; by blood, or to a lesser degree of seperation, by choice, force.

This of course is a very simplified version of a very versatile age old philosophical and theological debate, where blood drew more blood, and still does, but when you think of it, it actually goes down to that simplified premise; us being God's people..whether this is by divine decree..or so we think. Humans are selfish by nature, and there is no greater urge for selfishness than the urge of being The Righteous, the one whose side God will eventually defend and deliver to the promised both this and the life hereafter. With this eventuality, we reach the point of a kind of collective selfishness, one that is unparalleled, a kind that reaches the point of chauvinistic predetermination of people's fates, condemnation of their lives, and afterlives.

I've been reading Ibn Khaldun's works on and off, and he argues..notice that I said argues, as arguments are the daughters of minds..and minds never anyway, he argues that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices. Then, eventually, the former barbarians will be conquered by a new set of barbarians, who will repeat the process.

Almost 700 years after this analysis was made, it remains one of the most to the point diagnoses of human nature, the "other" is barbarian, in all aspects of, religious..etc, an alien to civilization, enlightenment and righteousness, or what we perceive them to be.

I'm mixing oranges with apples here as I'm combining the social..non religious conduct of Man with that which is related to Faith. I know that Faith, or more to the point..Religion is a set of teachings which are supposed to result in the betterment of life, and eventually a reward of eternal bliss, this however differs with the difference in the teachings of each faith, but when you think of it in the social, anthropological sense, the thought of being civilized..groomed, as opposed to "barbarian", mirrors, or echoes..depending on your prefered medium of imagination, the idea of us..the righteous..against them; the infidels, the lost..the goyim.

We are selfish, in our manipulation of God, and despite our selfishness..among ourselves, He still saves a man from a Tsunami, a woman from an earthquake, and a child from an airplane crash..for the sole reason of Him being the supreme deliverer of Mercy, the same Mercy he bestows upon a new hatched chick when its mother gently feeds it, the same Mercy He inspires a mother elephant to move slowly so as she wouldn't crush her new born baby, that very same Mercy we are not capable of giving a fraction of to each other.

In these days of pitch black intellectual defiance and denial..among people..and between them, when we retreat to the point of having our backs against the wall..we can only look up, and seek His Infinite Mercy..the same Mercy he bestows upon ants, koala bears and whales.

Have a Good Night.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

On The Stranger Within

In each single one of us, lies a stranger, someone we don't recognize, we do not know, he steps in occasionally, says hello, sits and has coffee with us, we talk, but then we never introduce ourselves to each other. He makes decisions on our behalf sometimes, most of the times those are the one's we regret..simply because it wasn't us who made them, it was that stranger within, that which we don't know, and yet, we permit him to become us for a brief moment of time. Some people are very accommodating..they let him take over longer than he should, and as a result their lives are never normal again, or take longer to repair.

This stranger has all the time in the world, he has all the means, all the will, he knows you very well, he knows when you're vulnerable, when you're weak, he lends a shoulder, gives a hug, but in doing so..he doesn't save your life, he might even be doing the opposite.

That stranger steps aside..disappears, whenever you sit and ponder..on how you could have done something, or not have done it..regret is the awakening of you, the realization of that foreign being within you, who took control and made decisions.

Some people lose their reality, and become that stranger, hence the saying: "you've changed" which by the way is a nice song, I like the version by Eva Cassidy, check it out if you can.

I have my stranger too, and I'd like to think that I still haven't reached the point of him taking over me completely, he takes over me sometimes, and makes decisions, ones I regret, but thankfully they're not irrepairable. Strangers know when to stop, and what their limits are, and the more space you give them, they'd double it and move forward.

We all have strangers within, keep yours on a leash, because you can never lose them, or should I say they would never lose you.

One last note; strangers of the same kind also exist around you, the good thing about those is that you have the choice to lose them, even if they have all the intent not to lose you.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Happy 61st Birthday

Today, I'm Thankful, to God for His blessings, and His guidance. Today, I'm thankful for King Abdullah I, for giving my grandparents refuge back in 1948, for giving my father, my uncles and aunts the chance to study..with honour, work..with honour, and make a decent living..with honour.

Today I'm Thankful for King Talal, for the constitution that made me first among equals, regardless of background, or faith. The rule to which we all seek refuge whenever we face malice.

Today, I'm Thankful for King Hussein, for making me proud to be Jordanian, for giving me the peace of mind in knowing that whatever happens, I will always have a home and a people to go back to, I'm Thankful for giving my grandparents the opportunity to have a peaceful long and happy life, for giving them the dignity in their life, and their death.

Today I'm thankful, for King Abdullah II, for giving me the hope of a better tomorrow, for the peace of mind, the ability to walk without the fear of an air strike, a sniper's bullet, or a car bomb. Today I'm thankful for the people of own; the tough, the kind, the noble, the generous, the shrewed and the brave.

Today, I'm thankful for being Jordanian. Today, I'm thankful for my parents..and theirs, and today, I recite a prayer for all those among us who have passed, and for those who are passing around us. May God's Mercy be upon them..and us all.

Monday, 21 May 2007

On Time

I've noticed a couple of new grey hairs in my head, and I have to be a bit cocky and claim that they look cool..along with their predecessors! this of course is happening as spring is blooming around, interesting contrast..the rules of sunrise and sunset, time..makes its own decisions, but the idea of a certain slot of time assigned for each one of us to do whatever we like, or quite intriguing. There's something weird about the thought of our "quick" appearance on this planet's proverbial film roll, some make a short appearance, some make a long one, some are in the the corner of the screen, some are outside the shot, and yet have all the players in their hands as they move them like puppets.

Some people pass through our lives, and make a huge effect, parents..friends, an effect that might stay with us till the day we leave, others make an that is lost with the first wave that washes them..and their effect, and some just pass by our own time do we.

There's a tree outside my window, and so far, I've seen it lose its leaves, bloom with beautiful pink buds, get a green coat, then lose it..and now the pink buds are about to make way to the new green I watched from the same window..watching nature is an interesting way to contemplate over the thought of existence..a circle of life.

One's selfishness dissolves in minutes..when you realize that you're better off leaving something behind..for people to remember you by..a selfish thought in its core, yet in achieving it you achieve a selfless act, people would remember someone who affected their lives..affecting people's lives needs an act of giving..intellectual, or physical, an eternal fingerprint of a sort.

Time never pauses..and as we move ahead with it..we get closer to certain predestined dates..our first steps, our first day in school, our first..everything, and our last. There's a certain mystery about coming of acquired sense of wisdom, a reservoir of memories..experiences, that is never filled, it is all summed up in the live, you learn!

Keep your eyes..and minds open.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

On The Delicacy of Emotions

At times, one feels transparent, like water..a see through entity, when the lightest breeze of air could penetrate your being..your bones, and reach the deepest most remote corner of your heart. when your voice becomes an echo of a distant forefather, or a distant great grandson, your eyes a capturer of memories..those of your own..and those of those walking around.

It rained today in London, and the rain washed the green landscapes, as it washed me..I deliberately walk in the rain sometimes..without an umbrella, it gives a feeling of renewal..a baptism of the soul, the water is not that of The River Jordan though, but none the less, it is one fresh from the wells of heaven, where angels and saints roam, and where eternal sunshine lies.

I saw on the news last night something about a cat adopting some chicks, they jumped on her head, poked her belly, as she laid there. Examples of Compassion never seize to amaze me, the hunter and the hunted, removing all rules of nature, renewing hope..despite everything..and proving that there is no Impossible.

I walked in the rain today, and as people hid from the divine shower..under umbrellas..coats, I embraced it..rain is a blessing, that's what they why hide from a blessing?! there was a little girl holding a little umbrella..she had cute pigtails, and as she walked home from school, she skipped with happiness, children know when a blessing is being given. I kept walking, as darkness drew closer, the sky had this dark blue/purple color..The color of longing.