Sunrise with Barry White..23-11-2009

My day starts at 7:30am, that’s when the alarm rings and I open my eyes. I change, have my cereal quickly while reading the news paper and head to work. I spend over 9 hours at work. I leave the office after 5:30, when it’s already dark outside. The only time I get to see the sun is when I walk to my granny’s for lunch, a 3 seconds walk!  After a long working day I go home and work out for an hour. Sometimes I jog, sometimes I do yoga, aerobics and exercises of that sort. After I shower I sometimes go out for a social obligation, or have dinner with friends, or have a society meeting, or stay home reading and watching episodes (always the best option).
By the time I get to bed I’d be exhausted. I immediately fall asleep the moment I put my head on the pillow. Usually, I go to bed at around 12 mid night and wake up at 4:30 to pray then I go back to sleep. But this was not the case today. When I went back to bed after praying, I picked up my phone and checked the recent updates. One of my contacts wrote something with the words first and last. And when I put my phone aside to sleep, the intro of Barry White’s My First, My Last, my Everything started playing in my head. Who can sleep with such tempo in his head?
The song kept on playing and I was moving my feet and head as I lay sleepless on my bed. I don’t know if it’s a fact or if it’s just me, but I always get the most accurate, creative and clear thoughts when I’m half asleep!!  I felt like a 100 wire was connected to my head, each had its own topic but Barry White was present in the background all the way.. my kind of wonderful, that’s what you are…(8)
The sun started to shine. My room has an issue with curtains. I always end up having a curtain that SUCKS the sun light and throws it up in my room!! A couple of months ago I spent a fortune on a new curtain and STILL, my room is brighter than the outside! The sun light had hit my eyes and I heard something moving outside my room, the maid was awake which meant that it passed 6 o’clock. My precious sleeping hours were passing by while I spent it singing with Barry White who decided to come back from the dead to keep me awake! You’re my reality, yet I’m lost in aaaaa dream (8)
It then hit me that I’m not going to Europe this winter. It’s good that I’m breaking the routine, but there are certain things that I’ll miss. But who knows? I might wake up one morning and decide to go. Just like I did many times before. You’re the first…you’re the last…my everything (8)
The song started to fade out and I finally fell asleep. And what a nap I had! I saw a horse getting killed infront of me. Then some buildings started blowing up one after the other while I stood in queue in Starbucks. And finally I was followed by an ostrich! I was running and the ostrich was running after me when I heard the sound of a PING. I kept my eyes closed and wondered who’d PING me at this hour. I closed my eyes tightly trying to go back to sleep when the alarm rang. DAMN IT. It was 7:30 already. I slept for like around 10 minutes?!  I was so tired and my eyes were not seeing clearly that the word DISMISS looked like a German word and I was wondering how the language set up in my phone got changed!
I dragged my heavy body out of bed, and guess who was back? BARRY WHITE. We got it together didn’t we? (8)

Looking at Islam with Tight Eyes.. 18-April 2010

We hear about sudden death stories almost every day. Car accidents, heart attacks, murders etc. It is a fact that we are all aware of as human beings on earth, anyone could die any second. True that the news we hear have its way to depress and scare us. But at the end of the day we realize that it’s destiny. And as Muslims we are strong believers in that, which makes us deal with catastrophic situations with patience and faith.

Unfortunately, there are some very dreadful behaviors that became common to Muslims when it comes to death news. I like to call it looking at Islam with tight eyes. Example comment: Oh my god, she wasn’t met7ajba, she’s going to hell!!. Or: He’s so lucky he was memorizing the Quran, he’s going to heaven!

Let me tell you about two stories that I’ve read in al-seera al-nabaweyathat happened in Ohod battle.  There was a Muslim who fought with the Muslims and got deeply injured. He couldn’t bear the pain, so he picked up his sward and killed himself. The prophet salla allahu alayhi wa sallam said: he’s in hell! Another Mushrek (who never believed in god) started fighting WITH Muslims all of a sudden in that particular battle, he died of his injuries. Although he never prayed a single prayer for god, the prophetsalla allahu alayhi wa sallam said: He’s in heaven!

My question is why do some people think that they are in a position that gives them the right to judge and categorize good Muslims from bad ones? If you are as smart and educated as you think, then how come you don’t realize that judging is a sin? And that Allah is the only one who knows the good from the bad!

It’s not just about judging others but also judging ourselves. We are supposed to be positive. Islam is all about being optimistic and focusing on the good side of everything. So why do we always look at the bad things that we and others do instead of the good ones? Whether the person was dead or alive, we should always look at his better side. It will make us feel good about ourselves and others.

I was once in a department store in London and there was a lady in abaya with a 2 years old boy next to me. The boy picked up a soft toy and she suddenly grabbed it from his hand and threw it away: “THIS IS HARAM” she yelled at the baby! What does a 2 year old boy know about haram and halal? He’s just a kid who got attracted to a toy! And who will probably grow up in a strict community where everything around him is wrong and forbidden. This kind of behavior is what leads young boys to join fake jihad forces and get involved in terrorism and suicide attacks. Being harsh never leads to anywhere good. And forcing others to believe in what you believe has nothing to do with Islam, because el a3mal bel neyat.

We shouldn’t forget that faith comes from within. And that what goes on between each human and Allah is something between the two of them. Covering your face or growing your beard doesn’t make you better than anyone. It’s your behavior and attitude that makes you better. It’s how much you truly love Allah between you and yourself. It’s how open and easy you become while living your daily life: Being good to your neighbors, sharing your meal with the poor, pleasing your parents, being there for your friends, helping the needy, doing the best you can at work, maintaining good relations with other religions and showing them that Islam is beautiful, and most importantly, pray on time and do all chores with good intentions.

It’s sad how most Muslims look at death as a black place where all people get tortured. How is that motivating for us to be better Muslims? The prophet salla allahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Tafa’alo bel khair tajedooh.” And that’s why we should always look at the good things we do and believe that we’ll get rewarded for that. This will push us to do more and more and be better Muslims. I once heard a lady who was giving a lecture in a funeral saying that we should look forward to the day we die because it’s an honor. It’s like the day we walk down the isle to Allah, so why be scared of that? It’s the day we move to a peaceful world where no problems of the daily problems we live exist.

I was so happy to finally hear someone talk about death in a positive way. And I started picturing death as something white, not black. And I found myself trying to be a better person, focusing on the basics and what matters the most. So what picture would you rather see? Which way would you rather follow? The black or the white?

At the end, I really hope that we stop looking at Islam with close minds. Allah gave us Quran and he gave each one of us a brain. We should read, do our own research and have our own perspective. It’s wrong to believe everything we hear even if it was from a religious person. We can’t keep on passing wrong beliefs and information. We must go back to history and have a deep look at the origin of everything that we’re doing today. Allah gave us a brain to do that, and not to follow others blindly.

And remember: Judging is Allah’s job. Not yours.

18-April 2010