Book 2: Three Stars

Orion's Belt

Three stars
I’d see when staring into the night sky.

Three stars
I’d wish to watch
with my then-unknown beloved. Continue reading

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Book 2: Rise

Sunrise

Rise, Rise.
The dawning of a new day.

Suburbs lay quiet,
resting under the blanket of morning clouds,
only the tree tops and buildings remain visible.

Morning flights, begin slowly.
Birds alone, birds in flocks.
People in flocks, gathered in the single, man-made vehicle of flight. Continue reading

Book 2: World-view

Continuing from part 1, here’s another section of the book I’m hoping to publish.


 

Worldview

Keep the world away.
Don’t turn on the radio.
Keep yourself away from the ideologically-tainted programming that entrenches itself in your home via the TV.

Reject their news media.
Their sensationalism.
Their obsession.
Their unhealthy fascination.

Be free of their poison.
They feed it to you: slowly, constantly, unrelentingly;

Headlines; top stories this hour;
chart shows; advertising –
“the right to choose” –
the right to choose what they make available to you:

“This week’s ‘must-have’ DVD”;
Dress like the stars;
Live the high life…

“winners know when to stop”
“enjoy it responsibly!”

Keep your (de)vices of shame and addiction.

I don’t need your modern-day idolatry:
your disease of celebrity obsession;
your hedonistic pursuits of all that delight the senses –
yet suffocate the soul.

I reject your ideas. Your way of life. Your deen*.

Mine may be flawed and faulty – but I’m on the right path.
I don’t drink from your poisoned cup;
I don’t breathe your polluted air.

I exist, I live – hard though it is –
in my own vacuum, with my own boundaries and my own border control.

Stew in the world if you want.
I choose something else.
I choose my own world.


Date written: December 2006

* Deen is an Arabic word meaning “way of life”. Islam is often referred to as such – being far more comprehensive than just a ‘religion’, but an actual way of life encompassing all aspects of our existence.

Background:

I was in an airport parking lot one morning, waiting to pick someone up. I’d arrived early, turned on the radio, and after hearing just a few seconds of a news bulletin, switched it off instinctively – as if being burned by a hot stove. The feeling at that instant was really an eruption of sentiments that had been building up for a long time before that. Hearing that news bulletin – however brief – was a catalyst for this emotional release, and I poured them into this piece.

At the time of writing, I was in a somewhat contradictory space in terms of media. I habitually indulged in some forms of entertainment – mostly a few TV series I was hooked on – yet I was also fully aware of the poisoning effect that modern entertainment had. The moral degeneration of society, I believe, has been fueled largely by the growth and dominance of media in our world today. And in many cases, those in charge of the industry push very harmful and spiritually-destructive ideologies through their programming – whether blatantly or in more insidious ways. So while I knew such pastimes weren’t good for me, I justified it by thinking that just a few of these would be fine. It’s not like I was a major TV / entertainment addict – like the many, many people around me at the time (and still, to this day).

One of the targets of this piece is the modern disease of consumerism, and the information overload we get via the constant flow of ‘news’ that never ever ends. At the time, I was anti-news, and really wanted nothing more than to be cocooned away from this world – in a bubble of my own: pure, happy, and free of the manipulation that comes with today’s news media. And for the most part, I actually was kind of living that life. I was living alone, without much exposure to the outside world or people – aside from day to day work and occasional family stuff.

This piece really just expressed my rejection of modern media, and the yearning to be free of it.

Image source

As the days of Hajj draw to a close…

As I sat there, I was moved by watching my fellow hujjaajj. I reflected on how we were all brought together for this trip: Allah had specifically picked each and every one of us to be His guests at these holy sites in this year. I thought about the bonds had grown between us, and how united we’d been. And soon, this would all end. We’d go back to our own lives at home and our Hajj would fade into history as fond memories – flashes of a past experience that we would so dearly love to hold onto, but wouldn’t be able to, since life would move on, and time would erode the highs of our spiritual peak. Continue reading

Makkan Memories…and the future of me

Hajj collage

I think of how my own life has changed in these six years.

When we got back, the desire to “live my Hajj” meant staying highly spiritual: worshipping a lot; being beautiful in character; and just living a good, clean life.

Six years later, my feeling is that that’s not what it means to live our Hajj. At least not for me. Maybe because I’ve failed miserably by my own initial definition. Continue reading

Leaving for Hajj soon? Download these tipsheets

With this year’s Hajj fast approaching, those who are going can find it hectic getting logistical stuff sorted out, making the social arrangements for departure (the greetings etc before leaving), and – most importantly – their own personal mental and spiritual preparation.

What follows is a compilation of tips and lessons extracted from my own Hajj experience – which I hope will be of benefit to those making the journey of a lifetime this year. Continue reading

The best of 2017 (so far)

Because a picture says a thousand words…