Mezquita de Cordoba

Dear readers,

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you,

I cannot move to sharing other snippets from our rihla, without posting on the Mezquita de Cordoba. I had read and heard a great deal about it, and for me, it was a dream come true to be able to stand inside and wander through that magnificent pattern of palm-tree columns.

La mezquita’ as the locals still chose to call it, is the Cathedral of Cordoba. Recently (since a few years ago), signage has begun to read ‘Mezquita-Cathedral’, though for centuries since it was turned into a cathedral, it was still simply called ‘la mezquita’. The locals would say “I’m going to the mezquita for mass”! It used to be the ‘jamia masjid of Cordoba’ (the grand mosque of Cordoba. The word ‘jamia’ comes from ‘jumu’ah’ or Friday..as related in previous posts..the word for Friday comes from the word for gathering as it is when Muslims gather for a communal prayer. Therefore the largest mosque in a city is usually called the ‘jamia’ mosque. It often tends also to be the grandest, and so in English a more appropriate translation has become ‘grand mosque’, though perhaps ‘main mosque’ is more apt). The mosque, in the style of the great Umayyad mosqe of Damascus (God grant it is safe, and this needy abd [=slave] the chance one day to visit!] was built on where there used to be a Visigothic Catholic Church (from ~600 CE to 800 CE) that used to be an ancient Roman temple. I am not sure if any part of the original Church remains, but you can see some of the foundation of the ancient Roman temple. Perhaps the temple was used as a Church ? I do not know. What I do know, and I did some research on this, is that AbdurRahman-I who was the first caliph of Al-Andalucia bought the property for a huge sum of money (~ 100,000 dirhams possibly) from the Catholic church and then built his mosque. He bought it after a few years of sharing the property (paying rent of course) and thereafter upon needing more space for the growing Muslim population.

The original was expanded by successive caliphs to become the huge complex of close to 1000 pilars. Mosques in the Muslim world have always been more than places of worship. It’s the ‘family hang-out’, the ‘classroom and university’. Actually in the Islamic Golden Age, great teachers were born out of the mosque-circles. Usually a speaker/teacher would lean on a pillar after the salah (=prescribed 5 times a day ritual worship, I’ve described the term elsewhere) and give a talk. People would sit to listen, if the talk is good, more people join…and so a teacher’s fame spreads. Even today the mosque in Al-Azhar in Cairo (the second oldest University in the world) serves the same purpose. If you go there, you will see these circles by a pillar. In those days anyone on the street could wander in and sit down to listen. Even today you can do this, very few Muslims do have the interest to however. In them days, people would come in droves and soon a speaker would be addressing hundreds.

The pillars in the Mezquita de Cordoba have this double arch structure – so evocative of the branches of a date-palm. Others have said more eloquent things about it, so I will limit myself here. Only to add, an engineered effect of all the pillars is the feeling one gets of eternity….of a seemingly never-ending path of tall trees. This is very typical of Islamic art – you will often find repeated patterns, some intricate and elaborate. Often on nature themes. A reminder of the eternal life to come, of paradise, which was our home, and of God the almighty, who is limitless and eternal. Eternal is a poor word according to Muslim theologians, as it still talks upon the frame-work of time. And we believe God, is beyond time, being The Creator, and the Creator is not like the creation. ” …laisaka mithlihi shai =There is nothing like unto Him” (Quran 42:11). So we say, to try to capture this idea better; God is beginninglessly eternal and will be forever, endlessly (the Arabic captures this better).

After the reconqista, the mosque was converted to a church. It would have been torn down (hence why none of the Jamia masajid of other Andalucian cities remain) except the local people were so fond of it, they protested. The Catholic authorities could not therefore, and instead built a cathedral in the middle of it. The cathedral itself is quite grand. But I must be honest – the two art-forms just do not go well together. The overall effect is rather strange and unnerving. I found it very jarring to my artistic sensibilities. I was not the only one, apparently the pope of the time, when he came to visit it having being invited to see the accomplishment by the local Catholics on completion, is reported to have said something along the same lines. However it is a good thing this was done, as it is probably what saved the structure from destruction, particularly during the Inquisition. Wa Allah a’lam (=and God knows best)!

Here are pictures. Please read the captions.

A model of the mosque before the Cathedral was built in it. In the Calahorra museum
A model of the mosque before the Cathedral was built in it. In the Calahorra museum
A picture of the inside of the model - what the old mosque would have been like
A picture of the inside of the model – what the old mosque would have been like

 

columns and columns
columns and columns

 

The effect is amazing...my camera could not do it justice. It's quite dark inside now, as there is only a small entrance and not the many archways that open to the courtyard in the original design
The effect is amazing…my camera could not do it justice. It’s quite dark inside now, as there is only a small entrance and not the many archways that open to the courtyard in the original design

 

The original mihrab (=prayer niche), a staple in any mosque design, it gives the direction to Mekkah and usually is designed with great acoustics, so that the Imam's recitation as he leads the prayer from inside, is heard by all the congregation.
The original mihrab (=prayer niche), a staple in any mosque design, it gives the direction to Mekkah and usually is designed with great acoustics, so that the Imam’s recitation as he leads the prayer from inside, is heard by all the congregation.

The ayaath above the mihrab are the last lines from Surah Hashr. They are often recited in prayer.

He is Allah, than Whom there is La ilaha illa Huwa (=none has the right to be worshipped but He) the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen (open). He is the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. (59:22)

He is Allah than Whom there is La ilaha illa Huwa (=none has the right to be worshipped but He) the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him. (59:23)

He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms. To Him belong the Best Names . All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (59:24)

 

The top of the mihrab
The top of the mihrab
The rather strange juxtaposition of two very different art-forms. This was one of the more graceful pictures I could take
The rather strange juxtaposition of two very different art-forms. This was one of the more graceful pictures I could take

 

One of the many gates from the outside. It's walled up though
One of the many gates from the outside. It’s walled up though

The above gives you a size of the structure. It was huge, at one time the second largest mosque in the Muslim world.

I will end by saying how many a great thinker and scholar must have sat and leaned on those pillars, how many rapt-eyed students at his or her feet. The space still seems to carry echoes of their lost voices.

Ending with a prayer for peace and understanding and truth told, no matter the cost

Peace be with you all.

Ulu camii

Assalamu alaikum dear readers,

I have been wanting to write for a while but many unexpected things got in the way. I have much more to share about my rihla to Turkey, but the days are flying and new experiences are threatening to dull precious memories, as well as competing for blogging time and space (and I have been sternly denying them that). So I think this maybe the last post on Turkey. I chose for it a post about a very special camii we were blessed to visit. It is called the Ulu camii, also known as the Bursa Grand Mosque. It is an example of early Seljuk architecture and was built before the time when Constantinopole became the capital of the Empire, around the late 14th century. So it is from before the time of the great Mimar Sinan or the more famous mosques in Istanbul.

Why is this masjid (=mosque) special? Well, when you see the pictures you will know. We took a day trip down just to see it and were blessed to join the congregation for the noon, afternoon and sunset salah (respectively called ‘dhuhar’, ‘asr’ and ‘maghreb’) there before heading back to Istanbul. It is located in Bursa, a ski-station actually, a beautiful old city located high up in the mountains, overlooked by the towering Ulu-daag (Ulu mountain). The mosque unlike the later masajid (plural of masjid) is decorated in only two colours; black and gold. There is minimal tile work and ornamentation. But what it does have is considered by some as one of the most magnificent displays of Islamic calligraphy in one place. It has over 190 calligraphic panels and works painted on the walls of the mosque. Different verses of the Quran, Islamic phrases, saying of the prophet (peace be upon him). All done in a variety of the established classical styles of calligraphy. For those of you who don’t know, Islamic calligraphy has some classical styles and training in them is also handed down from teacher to student and follows the same ‘ijaza’ (=license) system of transmission. We were blessed to watch a master calligrapher at work, who has ijazaath (plural of ijaza) in I think all the major forms, and some forms took up to 13 years to master. Islamic calligraphy is very mathematical as most Islamic art forms are …unsurprising as Muslim science always considered math to be a language of knowing the divine…there are secrets of the Universe mathematical principles can unlock that no other science can. And I guess in today’s language quantum physics and allied sciences are what I would also consider pure mathematics. But I am going off on another tangent, so I better stop. Look at this interesting paper for a computer application developed to do what the old masters did by hand, exploring symmetry and how it teaches us meanings about origin and end… Here is more detail on the theory.

I believe there is a panel where in the corner the master calligrapher offers a challenge to anyone to better his work, and indeed he does sign some of the panels. The feeling engendered by these panels in the mosque is amazing, everywhere you turn there is some choice phrase or metaphysical symbolic composition of letters, it takes the soul on a journey that I can swear no visit to any Art gallery has ever done to me, and I can use the Arabic ‘wallahi’ to swear this! (Wallahi meaning ‘by Allah’ and it is not used lightly to swear on something)

I will post pictures below. To leave you though, there is something very interesting in this masjid that I must share. Usually the place to take the compulsory washing one has to do before being able to enter the salah, called the ‘wudu’ in Arabic is outside. The wudu is often translated in English as ‘ablution’ and the idea is that one cleans ones external (the obligatory of this is to wash the hands and arms up to the elbows, the face, wipe over the hair and the feet. The prophet peace be upon him, would also wipe his ears and wash his mouth and nose so we often do that as additional and he would do this three times while reciting certain verses, so we follow his example, he also frequently brushed his teeth too) before one can enter the state of the ‘salah’ where Muslims believe we are standing directly in front of God which then is the time we go to clean our ‘internal’. Then before we go to the internal cleansing we undertake this external cleansing. So we can’t offer the salah unless we take our ‘wudu’ (certain acts nullify a wudu and then it has to be taken again, such as for example relieving oneself or falling asleep). However ‘ablution’ is a bad translation as it signifies the idea of prior sin, which is a concept foreign to the Muslim psyche. Rather the better translation I’ve heard recently is ‘lumination’ from an eminent English speaking Islamic scholar, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, as the Arabic root word for ‘wudu’ comes from the same root as the latin ‘lumos’ (meaning gaining a state of light) comes from.

To continue the taps to take the wudu are usually located in the courtyard outside the masjid as we enter the masjid after having taken our wudu. But in the Ulu camii there is a beautiful fountain (complete with fresh clean towels!) located inside the mosque. This was an anomaly and we were curious why. The story goes, that when the Sultan wanted to build the masjid he began to acquire the land for it. All was okay except there was an old lady who lived in this small hut right in the middle of the proposed property who refused to sell to the Sultan. And it is a testament to his good rule that he could not compel her to sell her land. The story goes that eventually she died, and left no heirs. Now the Sultan went ahead and acquired the land and construction was to begin. However here is a dilemma, would the prayer of those worshipers who prayed on this land be valid, in that though acquired it was not done so with the permission of the owner. So according to Islamic law (and remember Islam as a religious tradition is most known in terms of its contributions in the field of law) the land may not be ‘halal’ (permissible) or valid, on which to build a mosque. The ‘ulema (=scholarly community) had a cunning compromise to this dilemma, they could not halt the Sultan from building the mosque but they could not rule that the prayer offered on this portion of the land would be valid according to Islamic law, so they couldn’t sanction it either. Therefore they proposed that a fountain be built on the section of land that used to belong to the old woman so that no worshiper’s head would touch the ground on what maybe a space where a prayer is unlawful. Instead people take their wudu there! I was humbled by this level of scrupulousness and earnestness in trying to find the best solution to a problem not to mention ensuring religious works are done according to the highest morality. And I could not but help think of the status of many Muslim governments of today who don’t care how they do what and would even murder their own citizens in the name of religion. May God help us all.

With that said, here are pictures. May peace be with you all and I will leave with this prayer that you too will get to visit places like this in the same way I have. And truly journey ‘through the earth to learn’

22:46
Sahih International Interpretation

So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.

Quran 22:46
fountain
Ulu camiiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ulu camii alcove

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Istanbul and Abu Ayyub al Ansari (rad)

Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you) dear readers,

Alhamdulillah (thanks and praise be to God), finally back to posting and continuing with the rihla to Turkey posts. We visited many sites in Istanbul and spent the majority of our time in that great city. What can I say? there is so much to share that I am do not know where to begin. Let me then, begin at the beginning!

We arrived in Istanbul on the day of the great Istanbul marathon, I believe over ten thousand runners were on a route that included the Bosphorus bridge, thereby crossing Asia-Europe, which I thought was rather cool. The bottom line was that traffic though was a mess, as this meant one of the two bridges across the Bosphorus was closed to vehicles. After a short time in our hotel we then headed to the Abu Ayyub al Ansari mosque, or the Ayyup camii as the Turks call it. We did this as good etiquette upon our rihla. The turks call Abu Ayyub al Ansari (radhiallahu ta’ala anhu = may God the most High, be pleased with him) the ‘first Sultan’. Here is a website from Turkey on him. He was a companion of the prophet (peace be upon him) and a man beloved to all Muslims. He was an ‘ansari’ meaning, one of the ‘ansar’ (ansar= helpers). The ansar is the name given to the people of Yathrib, a city north of Medina, that the beloved prophet (peace be upon him) migrated to to escape immense persecution from him own tribe in Mecca and also at the request of the people of that city who pledged allegiance to him and asked him to come and govern it. On his arrival there, the city came to be called ‘Medina’ meaning ‘city’. A shortened form of ‘medinatun-nabi’ (=city of the prophet). There is much to relate of this migration, called the ‘hijrah’ which begins the Muslim calander and of the prophet (peace be upon him)’s first actions when he got there, among which was to draft a constitution.

To continue, when our beloved messenger (peace be upon him) entered Medina, he stayed at the home of Abu Ayyub al Ansari for several months until his own modest dwelling was built along side a mosque simultaneously constructed. There is a beautiful story about how the site was chosen for the mosque of the prophet (peace be upon him) which exists to this day and is the second most important mosque in the Muslim world (after the Ka’aba in Mecca). It was actually the prophet’s (peace be upon him) camel that chose the site. But this post will be very long were I to relate it. Abu Ayyub al Ansari showed the prophet (peace be upon him) an immense amount of love and respect on having him as his guest. Many stories are told about his honoring of his guest and the prophet’s immense love for him and his family. He lived a long time after the prophet’s death. In his eighties he went on a campaign to what was then constantinopole and died there. Several centuries later when Muhammed al fatih located where he was buried he built a mosque, the first he built in that city. The mosque exists to this day and the locals loving visit there to celebrate marriages, circumcision ceremonies for boys and etc. It was as if they were seeking the blessings of this great man. There was a feeling of peace and serenity in that mosque hard to rival among the other many fabulous mosques in Istanbul. Also one felt the genuine love of the local people for the place, and surrounding it many restaurants, plazas and places for people to hang-out are there, and they are always full. So we began our tour with a traditional etiquette of paying our respects to this beloved soul who did so much for Islam, and who had the honour and blessing of being among the companions of our beloved messenger (peace be upon him). I have no pictures of that place, it was not a place to take pictures in, at least not for me. I will however post below a video I found on youtube, of some brothers who gathered in the mosque, following the ritual prayer or salah, to sing in praise and love of the prophet and his companion.

And then out of respect and etiquette, I will post about other aspects of the Istanbul leg of our rihla later on inshaAllah (God willing). May the peace and blessing of God always around you, be closer and closer and ever more apparent to your hearts!

Ankara

My dear readers, Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you)!

Alhamdulilillah (praise and thanks be to God) I am currently in Turkey. I came here very blessed as part of a spiritual tour with a great scholar of our times. Please follow the link to find out more. InshaAllah more about this tour soon, it has been so full and overflowing in blessings it is hard to condense into one post so I must think about how best to share the ‘barakah’ with you inshaAllah (barakah=blessing, inshaAllah= God willing).

For today here are some pictures from a day trip I took to Ankara yesterday. I had to go there for some official business and did not have much time to spend. But I discovered it is a university town and has bookshops everywhere. So I was happy! There were several incidents of which one I particularly wanted to share; on my way into the city, being on a small budget I took a local bus and only had the address of the place I needed to get to to guide my way. I had asked several people but English is not commonly spoken and so I had some trouble. Basically I was in this bus that would take me to the city and I was not sure what I’d do when I got there. But I moved around asking a few people on the bus with little success despite very helpful sympathetic faces/gestures/words in Turkish. I then made the du’a of the traveler, a very beautiful and deep prayer (du’a = prayer, as opposed to the wrongly translated Muslim ‘salah’, the 5 times a day ‘prayer’, which really is more a ritual form of worship rather than a prayer as is commonly understood in English. A better translation of  ‘salah’= ‘reorientation or ‘turning to good’ or ‘recalibration’. One can, and is encouraged to make ‘du’a’ during the ‘salah’ as well. Almost all people do, as when one is in the ‘salah’ one is closest to God so Muslims believe, specifically during the prostration position in the ‘salah’). The du’a  is that which our beloved, Muhammed (upon whom be peace) made and taught us, when he embarked on any journey. Here it is;

‘Allaah is the greatest, Allaah is the greatest, Allaah is the greatest, How perfect He is, The One Who has placed this (transport) at our service, and we ourselves would not have been capable of that, and to our Lord is our final destiny. O Allaah, we ask You for birr (= goodness, good deeds, good) and taqwaa (= God consciousness, being mindful of God)  in this journey of ours, and we ask You for deeds which please You. O Allaah, facilitate our journey and let us cover its distance quickly. O Allaah, You are The Companion on the journey and The Successor over the family, O Allaah, I take refuge with You from the difficulties of travel, from having a change of hearts and being in a bad predicament, and I take refuge in You from an ill fated outcome with wealth and family.’

I did not know it well, so recited of it what I could. And then sat and thought I’d enjoy the view. Mashaallah (by God’s grace) soon after, the gentleman seated in front of me turned around and spoke to me in understandable English. He inquired what my predicament was, took the written address from me, called a friend to find out about it and then said to wait till his contact got back with directions. Some minutes later his friend called back and he told me he would show me the way. The man had mashaallah a kind face filled with the light of the good-hearted (those of you who know this can recognize it I know) so I was very much at ease. We got off at the same stop, he escorted me to where I needed to board another bus, got me on that, told the driver where to drop me off and only departed after waving goodbye when my bus left. Allah bless this brother and give him all that is good in this world and the hereafter! On getting to know each other I found out that he works for the ministry of Education and is a poet…MashaAllah! So my brother, if you come across this post, please know that I am grateful for your help and pray for you and your family.

Alhamdulillah the rest of my journey was good. Except for the fact that I was nearly at one point tearing due to having to sit in a room filled with cigerrette smoke for a good amount of time, not to mention a constant itchy throat due to the smoking everywhere. And on this matter let me say I find it very sad how prevalent smoking is in the Muslim world. Some scholars consider smoking to be haram (= forbidden) while almost all scholars consider it at least makhruh (= discouraged, disliked) so I do not understand how it is so prevalent. For those who do not know, everything in a Muslim’s life falls under a categorization of permissibility, that goes from a spectrum of permissible = ‘halal’ to impermissible=’haram’. This is why often Islam is understood as a way of life rather than a religion. It is sad though, that not all Muslims seem to understand or practice it as such.

I heard the azan (= call the prayer) and so could locate a mosque within walking distance, it turned out to be the largest mosque in Ankara. So I could join the jama’ah (congregation) for the salah and also rest a while. There was a ‘janaza’ (=funeral) salah when I was there. The second I got to participate in during this journey. Muslims have certain obligations in their lives they must fulfill, some are considered personal (= fard ‘ain) such as the ‘salah’, where each person has to fulfill his/her own of it, and some are communal (=fard kifaya), i.e., where one person fulfilling it ensures the community has fulfilled its obligation. The janaza salah is a communal obligation upon a Muslim who had died. Needless to say, as many of us as can, join this ‘salah’, as it is a communal obligation, and so we may increase the prayers upon the departed soul. This is why the janaza salah is often held right after one of the 5 times a day salaath (plural of salah) in the mosque, so the whole congregation may join it.

The mosque itself was very beautiful and grand, all the mosques (in arabic, ‘masajid’) are amazing in this country. InshaAllah I wil follow with posts about the mosques later on. The caligraphy and feeling of space and reverence is very beautiful and restful. Some pictures are below.

Image
Kocatepe camii entrance
Image
The salah from upstairs in the women’s section
Image
The domes of Kocatepe camii
Image
archways…

To end, a sight that touched my heart and gave me a sense of strong hope. There are sadly many children who beg on the streets here. And there are children who work for a living on the streets. This is a topic that deserves a post on its own, so I won’t say more now. But the picture below is of a boy I saw, may Allah increase him, bless him, protect him and grant him a glorious future in this world and the hereafter, who was busy doing his homework while in front of him he was selling little packets of tissue. I did not specifically get permission to post the picture, but as it is blurry I do not think it it wrong of me to do so. He was very diligent, hardly looking up but all his customers were faithful to give him the right amount of money for his wares or so for as long as I witnessed this it was what I saw. I felt very proud, humbled and a great rush of love and delight looking upon this determined young man and so I ask you my dear readers to also send your prayers upon him. May Allah grant this country and its people a great and peaceful future.

Image
‘O Allah, increase my little brother!’

***

Peace be with you all

Many thoughts of gratitude

Assalamu alaikum, peace be unto you,

 

Alhamdulillah (thanks and praise to God), I’ve had a lovely few day. First due to an amazing camping trip to a small island off the coast of Vancouver. I was touched and deeply humbled by the concern of my non-Muslim camping buddies that I keep my prayer on time…and I must say, there is no feeling as beautiful as standing under the trees on the grass close to the ocean in the state of ‘salat’ (the Muslim ritual worship, it is a physical ritual with meditative quranic recitation and repetitive praise of God made by the tongue or in the heart). Alhamdulillah! a deep peace and glimpse of utter serenity. Especially to wake up with the first light at about 4 am (impossible to sleep with sunlight streaming through a tent!) and be fully woken taking the ‘wudhu’ (ritual purification with water, the best translation of the word in to English is ‘lumination’, from the greek ‘lumos’, meaning to make light) with freezing cold crystal clear water and then to stand on a rock by the ocean and enter the salah. Mashaallah (by God’s grace) the weather was amazing, and the sunrise a beautiful pink and red. I wish I had taken pictures, but I did not want to wake my sleeping camping buddies…and perhaps it is that some images are better preserved in the heart. Having said that, I thank you my dear reader, for listening as I type out this verbal imagery, for indeed it stamps the memory on my heart and for that I am grateful.

 

There is much more I want to write and share, but enough of words from me for now. Let me leave you with a ‘du’a’ (this is more like what the English word ‘prayer’ means, it is supplication made to God) that was found some days ago recorded on the back page of an old notebook I had used when learning sacred knowledge. I do not know where it is from, but it is beautiful, wise, and universal. So I hope you benefit from it.

 

I will inshaAllah post some of the camping trips photos below for your pleasure 🙂

 

Du’a

O Lord, please help me to say the truth in front of those who have authority. And please help me not to say that which is false in order to gain advantage. And please help me to see the other side of reality. And please protect me from bearing false witness due to difference of opinion. O Lord if you give me money, do not take my money. If you give me health please don’t take my sanity. If you give me success don’t take my humility. If you give me humility don’t take my dignity. O Lord, please teach me to love others as I love myself. And teach me to question myself as I question others. And please teach me how to forgive. Because the ability to forgive is the greatest of qualities. And because revenge is a major sign of weakness and regression. Please O Lord, protect me from arrogance upon my success. And protect me from despair upon my failure. O Lord, please remind me that failure preceeds success. O Lord if you do not give me success, please leave me determination to overcome failure. O Lord if you do not give me health, leave me my faith. O Lord, if I hurt others please give me the ability to apologize and if others hurt me, give me the ability to forgive. O Lord, if I forget Thee, don’t forget me as You are the Forgiving (al-Ghafur), the Clement (al-Halim), the Great (al-Kabir), Dominant and Able to do all things (al-Qadir).

Image

– Deer everywhere on the island…I was very happy with that!

 

Image

– Campsite 🙂

 

Image

– a precious moment as Otter arrive shortly after the dawn prayer (‘fajr), it was quite and still and I was thrilled by the sighting

 

Image

-pretty island farmhouse. Idyllic and the best part is it is a functioning farm. The family that owns it, gifted much land to make a park for Canada!

 

 

Image– golden sunset on my way home. MashaAllahu ta’ala!!

 

Trust

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you! It has been a long long while since I last wrote. I have been on a journey, not just external but also internal as many life events took their toll. But this joy that we are all born with, the light within, never abated…only I could not see it sometimes, blinded by tears. Aren’t we all at some point in our lives and is not the benefit of the tear to wash the dirt from the soul? to clean the eye so it can see again, what is important and essential.

Here is a poem I wanted to share, I found it writen some time ago, during Ramadan I believe.

Taught to trust
through hours
when my feet swell
and my body sways
gently to the rhythm of the recitation
rising and falling
as my breaths
joined to the rhythm of the universe
this reverberation
Ramadan night resonation
With the soul
for a moment, split second divine
worry leaves and the heart is re-born
The soul’s polish
reaches that first sparkle
when polishing cloth leaves its surface
and before dust can settle
split second glimpse
of the Divine
Light upon Light
so heavy, yet so ethereally weightless
so substantial, everywhere yet nowhere
It explodes, this light
in a quiet spreading
beyond physics…beyond the created
It is just there. And polished mirror soul
I reflected it. Till it was everywhere.
And I was nothing, in a sea of light

There I found trust, implicit absolute immaculate trust
My Lord will look after me.

***