Private blog

{ Saturday, August 27, 2011 }
Assalaamu aleykum :)


I hope you are all well.
I'm travelling to another country tomorrow and I'll be staying there for a period of about 4 months. 
I want to write about my "adventures" there, but since it'll inevitably be more personal, I decided to write these experiences and impressions down in a private blog, with invited readers only. If you want to be invited to this blog, please send your e-mail to safiyahsmusings@hotmail.com. I'll only accept readers I know from this blog though. I'll also keep updating this blog inshaAllah, if I find the time :p


Love,


Safiyah



Some hadiths in defense of the Prophet

{ Wednesday, August 24, 2011 }
I don't want to give the impression that I can only think in a negative way about Islam, so in reply to my previous post about the beating of children I want to give some hadiths that say that the Prophet was very merciful with children.


Also, I discovered that the hadith about beating children is hasan (sound) but not sahih (authentic) and that some scholars even consider it weak.


This hadith was originally related by the Companion ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him). Imam al-Tabarani included the narration in his al-Kabir and al-Awsat. The scholar al-Haythami classified both isnads as hasan (sound). [al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id] Other scholars considered it to be weak. [al-Sakhawi, al-Maqasid al-Husna]

Scholars note that hasan hadiths are authentic enough to be acted upon and used as religious proofs, but they are not at the level of strength as a sahih (rigorously authentic) hadith. [al-Ghawri, al-Muyassar fi ‘Ulum al-Hadith]
I found the following hadiths:

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “He is not of us (the one) who does not have mercy on our young children, nor honor our elderly.” [Tirmidhi]


The Companion Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) helped serve the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) for 10 years during his youth.  He described his personal experiences with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said:


“I served the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) for ten years. He never said to me ‘uff!’ (a word in the Arabic language used to express one’s annoyance). And he never said about a thing I did, ‘why did you do that?’ And he never said about a thing I left, ‘why did you leave that?’ The Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace) was the best of people in character…” [Tirmidhi]
“I served the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) for years. He never insulted me at all. He never hit me at all. And he never scolded me. And he never frowned at me in my face…” [al-Baghawi, al-Anwar fi Shama’il al-Nabi al-Mukhtar]

 The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) counseled a man who asked for his advice and he (Allah bless him and give him peace) told him three times “Don’t get angry.” [Bukhari]




Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:
I went along with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) at a time during the day but he did not talk to me and I did not talk to him until he reached the market of Banu Qainuqa`. He came back to the tent of Fatimah and said, “Is the little chap (meaning Al-Hasan) there?” We were under the impression that his mother had detained him in order to bathe him and dress him and garland him with sweet garland. Not much time had passed that he (Al-Hasan) came running until both of them embraced each other, thereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O Allah, I love him; love him and love one who loves him.” (Muslim)
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him), the servant of the Prophet, had another recollection:
I never saw anyone who was more compassionate towards children than Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). His son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He would go there, and we would go with him, and he would enter the house, pick up his son and kiss him, then come back. (Muslim)
Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him),
Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.” (Al-Bukhari)
The following hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) proves his thoughtful character:
The Prophet said, “(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.” (Al-Bukhari)
Narrated Abu Qatadah: “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up he lifted her up.” (Al-Bukhari)
“Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


Prophet Muhammad was reported as saying: "Be fair and just in terms of the gifts you offer your children. If I was to give preference to any (gender over the other) I would have preferred females over males (in terms of giving gifts)."


Narrated `A’ishah: The Prophet took a child in his lap … and then the child urinated on him, so he asked for water and poured it over the place of the urine. (Bukhari) .... Embarrassed, the father sprang forward. "What have you done, you silly boy?" he shouted. He shoved his arm forward to grab the child away from Muhammad, his red face showing his anger. Fear and confusion showed in the face of the child. Muhammad restrained the man, and gently hugged the child to him. "Don’t worry," he told the over-zealous father. "This is not a big issue. My clothes can be washed. But be careful with how you treat the child," he continued. "What can restore his self-esteem after you have dealt with him in public like this?"





Announcement

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Only registered users (including open ID) can comment from now on. I'm not against people commenting who disagree with my views, but you can at least be brave enough to put a name.

Have a nice day, everyone :)

Listen

{ Monday, August 22, 2011 }



Listen
To the song here in my heart
A melody I start but can't complete

Listen
To the sound from deep within
It's only beginning to find release

Oh the time has come for my dreams to be heard
They will not be pushed aside and turned
Into your own all 'cause you won't listen

Listen
I am alone at a crossroad
I'm not at home in my own home
And I've tried and tried to say what's on my mind
You should have known -

Oh

Now I'm done believing you
You don't know what I'm feeling
I'm more than what you made of me
I followed the voice you gave to me
But now I've gotta find my own
You should have listened

There is someone here inside
Someone I thought had died so long ago

Oh, I'm screaming out and my dreams will be heard
They will not be pushed aside or worked
Into your own all 'cause you won't listen

Listen
I am alone at a crossroad
I'm not at home in my own home
And I've tried and tried to say what's on my mind
You should have know

Oh, now I'm done believing you
You don't know what I'm feeling
I'm more than what you made of me
I followed the voice you gave to me
But now I've gotta find my own

I don't know where I belong
But I'll be moving on
If you don't, if you won't

Listen
To the song here in my heart
A melody I start
But I will complete -

Oh

Now I'm done believing you
You don't know what I'm feeling
I'm more than what you made of me
I followed the voice you think you gave to me
But now I gotta find my own
My own


Tragedy strikes at Belgian Festival

{ Friday, August 19, 2011 }
Yesterday, a severe storm hit my country. I was in the veranda when it happened. The sky grew completely dark, the harsh wind made the trees bend to their sides, and the rain came crashing down from the sky. The thunder was deafening, and the lighting so close it was scary. Really it was very threatening and I couldn't believe that only half an hour before the sky was blue and the sun was shining!


Yesterday it was also the first day of the Belgian music festival Pukkelpop. It's outside. It's a large festival and it draws a lot of people. My brother was planning on going today, and I know countless people who attend it.
When I turned on the news, they gave me images of chaos. The tents there had collapsed, and people had no shelter. In the last update today I read that 5 people died and 140 are wounded, because of the constructions that came crashing down. Most people who go there are my age, still very young. The upside of the story is that I feel a great solidarity in my country. Everyone is giving their support to the victims, and it's everywhere, on Facebook, Twitter, the radio and tv etc. The people who organised the festival also decided to cancel the rest of the concerts, out of respect for the victims. My heart goes out to them. Please pray for the victims and their families, that the wounded may be healed, and the dead may rest in peace. A death doesn't only affect one life, but also the life of everyone around him/her, and it's just so sad :( You go there wanting to have some fun, and then all of a sudden you are surrounded by chaos and things that come crashing down above your head! I can't imagine how scared everyone must have been!


Here is a report from the BBC on what happened, with video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14586001


:(

Interesting article on Sufism, Wahhabism and the definition of "bid'a"

{ Wednesday, August 17, 2011 }
I read an interesting article yesterday, in which the author explains that Sufism always was a part of classical theology and Islam, but that only since the rise of wahhabism it was discredited and thought of as foreign to true Islam. The author also explains that "bid'a" (innovation in religion) has been abused by the Salafi's and that not everything new is bad. The article itself is rather long, so I will post  excerpts of it, but if you are interested in reading it, you can find it here. It was written by Sheikh Abdal-Hakim Murad, a British convert, who studied in Cambridge and al-Azhar. 


There was a time, not long ago, when the 'ultras' were few, forming only a tiny wart on the face of the worldwide attempt to revivify Islam. Sadly, we can no longer enjoy the luxury of ignoring them. The extreme has broadened, and the middle ground, giving way, is everywhere dislocated and confused. And this enfeeblement of the middle ground, was what was enjoined by the Prophetic example, is in turn accelerated by the opprobrium which the extremists bring not simply upon themselves, but upon committed Muslims everywhere.


If these things go on, the Islamic movement will cease to form an authentic summons to cultural and spiritual renewal, and will exist as little more than a splintered array of maniacal factions. The prospect of such an appalling and humiliating end to the story of a religion which once surpassed all others in its capacity for tolerating debate and dissent is now a real possibility.


Symptomatic of the disease is the fact that among all the explanations offered for the crisis of the Islamic movement, the only authentically Muslim interpretation, namely, that God should not be lending it His support, is conspicuously absent. It is true that we frequently hear the Quranic verse which states that "God does not change the condition of a people until they change the condition of their own selves." [1. Al-Qur'an 13:11.] But never, it seems, is this principle intelligently grasped.


The verse is speaking of a spiritual change, specifically, a transformation of the nafs of the believers - not a moral one. And as the Blessed Prophet never tired of reminding us, there is little value in outward conformity to the rules unless this conformity is mirrored and engendered by an authentically righteous disposition of the heart.
For it is theological nonsense to suggest that God's final concern is with our ability to conform to a complex set of rules. His concern is rather that we should be restored, through our labours and His grace, to that state of purity and equilibrium with which we were born. The rules are a vital means to that end, and are facilitated by it. But they do not take its place.  




To make this point, the Holy Quran deploys a striking metaphor. In Sura Ibrahim, verses 24 to 26, we read:  
Have you not seen how God coineth a likeness: a goodly word like a goodly tree, the root whereof is set firm, its branch in the heaven? It bringeth forth its fruit at every time, by the leave of its Lord. Thus doth God coin likenesses for men, that perhaps they may reflect. And the likeness of an evil word is that of an evil tree that hath been torn up by the root from upon the earth, possessed of no stability.
How should we respond to this disorder? We must begin by remembering what Islam is for. As we noted earlier, our din is not, ultimately, a manual of rules which, when meticulously followed, becomes a passport to paradise. Instead, it is a package of social, intellectual and spiritual technology whose purpose is to cleanse the human heart. In the Qur'an, the Lord says that on the Day of Judgement, nothing will be of any use to us, except a sound heart (qalbun salim). [3. Sura 26:89. The archetype is Abrahamic: see Sura 37:84.] And in a famous hadith, the Prophet, upon whom be blessings and peace, says that  "Verily in the body there is a piece of flesh. If it is sound, the body is all sound. If it is corrupt, the body is all corrupt. Verily, it is the heart.


It is vital to understand that mainstream Sufism is not, and never has been, a doctrinal system, or a school of thought - a madhhab. It is, instead, a set of insights and practices which operate within the various Islamic madhhabs; in other words, it is not a madhhab, it is an ilm. And like most of the other Islamic ulum, it was not known by name, or in its later developed form, in the age of the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) or his Companions. This does not make it less legitimate. There are many Islamic sciences which only took shape many years after the Prophetic age: usul al-fiqh, for instance, or the innumerable technical disciplines of hadith.  


Now this, of course, leads us into the often misunderstood area of sunna and bid'a, two notions which are wielded as blunt instruments by many contemporary activists, but which are often grossly misunderstood. The classic Orientalist thesis is of course that Islam, as an 'arid Semitic religion', failed to incorporate mechanisms for its own development, and that it petrified upon the death of its founder. This, however, is a nonsense rooted in the ethnic determinism of the nineteenth century historians who had shaped the views of the early Orientalist synthesizers (Muir, Le Bon, Renan, Caetani). Islam, as the religion designed for the end of time, has in fact proved itself eminently adaptable to the rapidly changing conditions which characterise this final and most 'entropic' stage of history.  



What is a bid'a, according to the classical definitions of Islamic law? We all know the famous hadith:  
Beware of matters newly begun, for every matter newly begun is innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in Hell. [4. This hadith is in fact an instance of takhsis al-amm: a frequent procedure of usul al-fiqh by which an apparently unqualified statement is qualified to avoid the contradiction of another necessary principle. See Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller, tr. Nuh Ha Mim Keller (Abu Dhabi, 1991 CE), 907-8 for some further examples.]
Does this mean that everything introduced into Islam that was not known to the first generation of Muslims is to be rejected? The classical ulema do not accept such a literalistic interpretation.  

Let us take a definition from Imam al-Shafi'i, an authority universally accepted in Sunni Islam. Imam al-Shafi'i writes:  
There are two kinds of introduced matters (muhdathat). One is that which contradicts a text of the Qur'an, or the Sunna, or a report from the early Muslims (athar), or the consensus (ijma') of the Muslims: this is an 'innovation of misguidance' (bid'at dalala). The second kind is that which is in itself good and entails no contradiction of any of these authorities: this is a 'non-reprehensible innovation' (bid'a ghayr madhmuma). [5. Ibn Asakir,Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (Damascus, 1347), 97.]
Why is it, then, that so many Muslims now believe that innovation in any form is unacceptable in Islam? One factor has already been touched on: the mental complexes thrown up by insecurity, which incline people to find comfort in absolutist and literalist interpretations. Another lies in the influence of the well-financed neo-Hanbali madhhab called Wahhabism, whose leaders are famous for their rejection of all possibility of development.  


According to the early Islamic psychologists, the ruh is a non-material reality which pervades the entire human body, but is centred on the heart, the qalb. It represents that part of man which is not of this world, and which connects him with his Creator, and which, if he is fortunate, enables him to see God in the next world. When we are born, this ruh is intact and pure. As we are initiated into the distractions of the world, however, it is covered over with the 'rust' (ran) of which the Quran speaks. This rust is made up of two things: sin and distraction. When, through the process of self-discipline, these are banished, so that the worshipper is preserved from sin and is focussing entirely on the immediate presence and reality of God, the rust is dissolved, and the ruh once again is free. The heart is sound; and salvation, and closeness to God, are achieved.  


Because its objective is nothing less than salvation, this vital Islamic science has been consistently expounded by the great scholars of classical Islam. While today there are many Muslims, influenced by either Wahhabi or Orientalist agendas, who believe that Sufism has always led a somewhat marginal existence in Islam, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of the classical scholars were actively involved in Sufism.
The early Shafi'i scholars of Khurasan: al-Hakim al-Nisaburi, Ibn Furak, al-Qushayri and al-Bayhaqi, were all Sufis who formed links in the richest academic tradition of Abbasid Islam, which culminated in the achievement of Imam Hujjat al-Islam al-Ghazali. 

Among the Malikis, too, Sufism was popular. Al-Sawi, al-Dardir, al-Laqqani and Abd al-Wahhab al-Baghdadi were all exponents of Sufism. The Maliki jurist of Cairo, Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha'rani defines Sufism as follows:  

'The path of the Sufis is built on the Quran and the Sunna, and is based on living according to the morals of the prophets and the purified ones. It may not be blamed, unless it violates an explicit statement from the Quran, sunna, or ijma. If it does not contravene any of these sources, then no pretext remains for condemning it, except one's own low opinion of others, or interpreting what they do as ostentation, which is unlawful. No-one denies the states of the Sufis except someone ignorant of the way they are.'[11. Sha'rani,al-Tabaqat al-Kubra (Cairo, 1374), I, 4.]  
For Hanbali Sufism one has to look no further than the revered figures of Abdallah Ansari, Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ibn Rajab.  

With all this, we confront a paradox. Why is it, if Sufism has been so respected a part of Muslim intellectual and political life throughout our history, that there are, nowadays, angry voices raised against it? There are two fundamental reasons here.  

Firstly, there is again the pervasive influence of Orientalist scholarship, which, at least before 1922 when Massignon wrote his Essai sur les origines de la lexique technique, was of the opinion that something so fertile and profound as Sufism could never have grown from the essentially 'barren and legalistic' soil of Islam. Orientalist works translated into Muslim languages were influential upon key Muslim modernists - such as Muhammad Abduh in his later writings - who began to question the centrality, or even the legitimacy, of Sufi discourse in Islam.  

Secondly, there is the emergence of the Wahhabi da'wa. When Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, some two hundred years ago, teamed up with the Saudi tribe and attacked the neighbouring clans, he was doing so under the sign of an essentially neo-Kharijite version of Islam. Although he invoked Ibn Taymiya, he had reservations even about him. For Ibn Taymiya himself, although critical of the excesses of certain Sufi groups, had been committed to a branch of mainstream Sufism. This is clear, for instance, in Ibn Taymiya's work Sharh Futuh al-Ghayb, a commentary on some technical points in the Revelations of the Unseen, a key work by the sixth-century saint of Baghdad, Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani. Throughout the work Ibn Taymiya shows himself to be a loyal disciple of al-Jilani, whom he always refers to as shaykhuna ('our teacher'). This Qadiri affiliation is confirmed in the later literature of the Qadiri tariqa, which records Ibn Taymiya as a key link in thesilsila, the chain of transmission of Qadiri teachings.[13. See G. Makdisi's article 'Ibn Taymiyya: A Sufi of the Qadiriya Order' in the American Journal of Arabic Studies, 1973.]  


Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, however, went far beyond this. Raised in the wastelands of Najd in Central Arabia, he had little access to mainstream Muslim scholarship. In fact, when his da'wa appeared and became notorious, the scholars and muftis of the day applied to it the famous Hadith of Najd:  
Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (upon whom be blessings and peace) as saying: "Oh God, bless us in our Syria; O God, bless us in our Yemen." Those present said: "And in our Najd, O Messenger of God!" but he said, "O God, bless us in our Syria; O God, bless us in our Yemen." Those present said, "And in our Najd, O Messenger of God!". Ibn Umar said that he thought that he said on the third occasion: "Earthquakes and dissensions (fitna) are there, and there shall arise the horn of the devil." [14. Narrated by Bukhari. The translation is from J. Robson, Mishkat al-Masabih (Lahore, 1970), II, 1380.

And it is significant that almost uniquely among the lands of Islam, Najd has never produced scholars of any repute.  

The Najd-based da'wa of the Wahhabis, however, began to be heard more loudly following the explosion of Saudi oil wealth. Many, even most, Islamic publishing houses in Cairo and Beirut are now subsidised by Wahhabi organisations, which prevent them from publishing traditional works on Sufism, and remove passages in other works considered unacceptable to Wahhabist doctrine.  

The neo-Kharijite nature of Wahhabism makes it intolerant of all other forms of Islamic expression. However, because it has no coherent fiqh of its own - it rejects the orthodox madhhabs - and has only the most basic and primitively anthropomorphic aqida, it has a fluid, amoebalike tendency to produce divisions and subdivisions among those who profess it. No longer are the Islamic groups essentially united by a consistent madhhaband the Ash'ari [or Maturidi] aqida. Instead, they are all trying to derive the shari'a and the aqida from the Quran and the Sunna by themselves. The result is the appalling state of division and conflict which disfigures the modern salafi condition.  

At this critical moment in our history, the umma has only one realistic hope for survival, and that is to restore the 'middle way', defined by that sophisticated classical consensus which was worked out over painful centuries of debate and scholarship. That consensus alone has the demonstrable ability to provide a basis for unity. But it can only be retrieved when we improve the state of our hearts, and fill them with the Islamic virtues of affection, respect, tolerance and reconciliation. This inner reform, which is the traditional competence of Sufism, is a precondition for the restoration of unity in the Islamic movement. The alternative is likely to be continued, and agonising, failure.



Starting over

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I'm starting over with Islam. I'm not willing to let it go just yet.


I think I've seen too much bad behavior of Muslims, which left me feeling disgusted.


I've come across some moderate sites and readings, and for the first time I regained some of my energy to try again, and to defy extremism and salafism. 


I don't know where this will lead me, but the intention is definitely there.


Oh yes, thank God for the blogs on Islamic feminism ;-)



I am a HSP

{ Wednesday, August 10, 2011 }
I am a Highly Sensitive Person. 


It was Dr. Elaine Aron who first came up with the term. She says 20% of all people are born with a highly sensitive nervous system. This means that those people are more easily overwhelmed by noise, light and smells. Furthermore, on a more positive note, those people are also emphatic, highly intuitive, creative, notice more subtleties and have a rich and complex inner life. If you want to find out if you are one too, you can take the test here.
I also read Dr. Elaine's book "The Highly Sensitive Person", and what a relief it was to finally put a name on all the experiences I went through. 


How do I notice I'm highly sensitive?




  • I startle very easily, if I hear an unexpected noise. Most of the time I seem to be the only one from among my friends or the people I'm with at the time who has such a strong reaction to the sound.
  • I have very low tolerance for loud noise or music. My nerves get shattered by a passing ambulance or police car. 
  • I very easily notice when someone is upset, or if the mood of a person changes. Also when a little child seems to do something potentially harmful for him or herself, I'm also one of the first to notice.
  • After an outing, I feel very drained and tired, and need to be alone and rest
  • I need alone time to recharge my batteries
  • I can really appreciate beautiful music, and sometimes feel the energy of the music in my body (don't know if that makes sense)
  • I'm very sensitive to hunger and pain
  • I hate watching violent movies or tv-shows and always close my eyes when violence comes up on TV. Also, I hate embarrassing moments for characters and will even fast forward when I'm watching a DVD to when that moment has passed
  • I am easily stressed and when I need to do something in front of others, I will always do it less well than when I'm alone
  • When I'm overstimulated I get angry easily
  • I find it hard to be happy when I notice someone else is upset, and the mood of others effect me greatly
  • I'm introverted and shy
  • I'm allergic to milk 
  • If I drink one cup of coffee after 6pm I will not sleep the whole night
  • I'm emphatic and very concerned with others
I decided to make this post because there might be others out there who are like that and who are unaware that this trait has a name, and requires special care. There is a lot of info out there about HSPs, thank God :) If you haven't already, I sincerely suggest that you read Dr. Elaine's book, because it will feel like a homecoming!




What would happen in a world without judgement?

{ Saturday, August 6, 2011 }
How many people feel insecure and afraid because they feel others will judge them? We muffle away our dreams and aspirations, because they are too grandiose, too ambitious, and others will surely condemn us for it, and laugh with us, and calls us stupid for trying to achieve what we want to achieve. 
How many times do we lie to avoid other's harsh reactions? How many times do we act in a certain way, do a certain thing, just so others would remain content with us? 
I wonder, what would happen if no one would condemn us? What would happen if others loved us for who we are, and speak only kind, comforting, motivating and compassionate words? How would our world look like?
Your first reaction might be that crime would increase, and surely we can't let criminals and sinners walk free!
I am not saying a criminal should "walk free" without any treatment, but let's think about how criminals become who they are. Isn't it so that in a lot of cases they were surrounded by lovelessness, hatred, abuse, coldness?
Our society, our world is so busy with punishing and judging that we forget to look at the roots of the problem. People do horrible things, yes, but can we honestly say that we could have done nothing to prevent it? That some people are just born evil?


What would happen if we believed in a God who loves us for who we are, without judgement? What would happen with our feelings of worthlessness and failure? Wouldn't they all be erased by God's light? How many times do people think it's too late for them, that they are doomed, that God is too angry with them and has completely deserted them? What would happen if it would never be too late, for God loves us always and is just seeking to heal us from our misconceptions about ourselves? Wouldn't our hearts soften? Wouldn't we get on our knees and surrender to this loving power much easier? What would happen to all those closed hearts that turned away from God because they felt they couldn't live up to God's so called expectations? Wouldn't they turn back?


There are only two feelings in this world: fear and love. Fear is only the absence of love, like darkness is the absence of light. Tell me, can you think of any other way to cast out darkness than to put on a light? Can we chase away darkness by beating it? Bombing it? Cursing it? I think we all know the answer.
What is fear but a call for love? How many times do we respond in a defensive way, when all we want is the other person to truly see us and extend their love to us? To accept us as we are, so we don't need to pretend anymore? What would happen if that other person, instead of becoming angry with us and judging us, would smile at us, hug us, and tell us it's ok, that we can relax because he/she still loves us and that will not change? I don't know about you, but I feel a huge relief when I think about such a reaction, and I believe my heart would break open and let go of all my anger and frustration with the world. 
More importantly, wouldn't you like to be such a person and bring such healing to others?


I still judge others easily, but from the moment I notice such a reaction in myself, I ask God to bless that person and to bring him/her love, happiness, peace and success. When I pray for this person, I notice that my heart softens and that the judgement is gone. I don't ask God to change that person, but to change my perception of that person, so I can respond in a compassionate and understanding way. I don't always succeed, but I feel this is a very good way to respond to our tendency to judge others. Instead of bringing more negativity to them, we can wish them all the best and perhaps even bring some softness in a harsh world. 
If we are looking to find fault in others, then that is what we will find. If we are looking for the innocence and good in others, then that is what we will find. We can't change others, but we can change our perception of what we see in them. Everyone has goodness in them, even if it's just a tiny seed. We can water this little seed with our love and kindness or squash it with our anger and judgement. Didn't a wise man once said "We must be the change we wish to see"? And another wise man "Those who are without sins throw the first stone"?
There is so much darkness, judgement and coldness in this world, please, let us love one another and work towards a brighter day.







Marianne Williamson quotes

{ Friday, August 5, 2011 }
Assalaamu aleykum :)


I have read some books by Marianne Williams and I think she's a very inspirational author, mashaAllah.
So I decided to post some quotes of her here.




“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


“We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past, but by the love we're not extending in the present.”


“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”


“Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.”


“As we become purer channels for God's light, we develop an appetite for the sweetness that is possible in this world. A miracle worker is not geared toward fighting the world that is, but toward creating the world that could be.”


“Maturity includes the recognition that no one is going to see anything in us that we don't see in ourselves. Stop waiting for a producer. Produce yourself.”


“We have made up a God in our image. Because we are angry and judgmental, we have projected those characteristics onto Him. But God remains who He is and always will be: He is the energy, the thought of unconditional love. He cannot think with anger or judgment. He is mercy and compassion and total acceptance.”


“If you give your life as a wholehearted response to love, then love will wholeheartedly respond to you.”


“Fill you mind with the meaningless stimuli of a world preoccupied with meaningless things, and it will not be easy to feel peace in your heart”


“We are so trained in the thought system of fear and attack that we get to the point where natural thinking -- love -- feels unnatural and unnatural thinking -- fear -- feels natural. It takes real discipline and training to unlearn the thought system of fear.”


“In our natural state, we are glorious beings. In the world of illusion, we are lost and imprisoned, slaves to our appetites and our will to false power.”


“May we not succumb to thoughts of violence and revenge today, but rather to thoughts of mercy and compassion. . . . We are to love our enemies that they might be returned to their right minds.”


“Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it.”


“I deepen my experience of God through prayer, meditation, and forgiveness.”


“Our religious institutions have far too often become handmaidens of the status quo, while the genuine religious experience is anything but that. True religion is by nature disruptive of what has been, giving birth to the eternally new.”


“God created the law of free will, and God created the law of cause and effect. And he himself will not violate the law. We need to be thinking less in terms of what God did and more in terms of whether or not we are following those laws.”







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