Saturday, August 30, 2008

The life you save....

Ive never understood the thinking behind the phrase "InshaAllah" in InshaAllah God will protect we engage in a certain swimming. How many Bahrainis make it a weekend date to go swimming at the local beaches (the few that are available) and yet dont know how to actually swim...and yet when asked "how can you take yourself and your kids swimming(insert any dangerous activity here) if you cant swim...arent you worried something will happen?" ....and the reply...."InshaAllah nothing gonna happen." The same with private swimming pools...which are even worse. Being at the beach exposed to lots of other people ensures that even when trouble occurs(and it always does) chances that someone else is there that can help are a private pool area...when nobody knows how to swim properly...trouble is just waiting for the right moment.
The number of small children (and the occasional adult) that drowns either at the beach or at a private swimming pool every summer just boggles the mind. One is one too many when it doesnt take much to prevent this tragedy. A simple life vest first and foremost is a must for anyone...regardless of age...that wants to get in water and doesnt feel secure or knows how to swim. To allow your children anywhere near water unsupervised...and especially when you yourself dont know how to swim is a crime...with the high cost of punishment...a tragic death. How easy these tragedies could be avoided...if only people would be a little more cautious with their lives and those of their children. Uttering the words "InshaAllah" doesnt remove the burden of responsibility from just makes you lazy and uncaring in my opinion.
The paper this week once more shows the heartbreaking pic of a small child that drowned right under the noses of his family...who took him to a private pool while they themselves could not swim. I feel angry just thinking about that. What were they thinking...that they wouldnt allow him to get in the deep end...can anyone assure that he will be closely watched the whole time they are there...well obviously not. Im not making light of their suffering ....for sure they are heartbroken and I wish them peace and patience to get through this horrible time in their lives...but that in no way relieves them from the burden of responsibility in the care of their own child...which they failed in miserably. Its enough when accidents happen...things we have no control over...that by itself leaves us raging against fate, destiny...the Hand of God...whatever...but when we knowingly put our children in danger...and taking your child to a large body of water when neither they or you can swim is putting them in can we point a finger in blame at someone else when the worst possible thing that can happen...happens?
Putting all that that this poor child's young life has been taken so early on and could have been avoided with a few easy the govt wants to impose lifeguards on all private swimming pools.....this is years too late in my opinion as so many young children have all ready died...and nothing was done then to save the ones that came after them....but the worse thing is....Bahrainis are pitching a fit...claiming their privacy will be impinged upon with the presence of a lifeguard. How can you compare your right to privacy with the life of your child I dont know. And also...why is it assumed that the lifeguard must be a male...female lifeguards are just as capable of saving lives as males....these private pools could have a female present if these woman are so concerened with their bodies being seen.....or would they rather see the body of their 4 year old laying at the bottom of a pool as poor Mohammeds was for quite some time while his helpless family looked on. Were they worried about modesty and privacy then...or praying to God that someone would rescue him...or that they hadnt brought him...or what exactly?
For every action there is a reaction...if you dont put a seatbelt on your child...that child flies threw the window on impact. You dont teach your child to look both ways before crossing the street...that child gets run down by a car. You dont put a life vest on your child...your child drowns right under your nose. You leave your child at home unsupervised...your child starts a fire and burns down the house...with him and maybe his siblings inside it. Children dont know the dangers...adults do...we are killing our children people...and we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Safety first people...the life you save maybe your own..or better yet...your child's.
There is hadith that says (paraphrasing)....Pray to God to keep your camel from wandering away...but tie the camel up as other words...God helps those that help themselves.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ramadan is Coming...Pt 2

Ramadan Ramadan
Burning bright
In our breasts you do ignite
Passions flaring throughout the night
We leave our beds in the first grey light
To please You God with all our might
Striving for the path thats pure and right
To be granted heaven...the sweetest bite

From trembling lips vows anew
That fall from lips like morning dew
Pleading weakness for sins that grew
That far outweigh the good we do
Charity given by just a few
So hard to stretch a hand out too
Enough! we believe to pay our dues
With bended knee...sujuud and ruku

Our foreheads pressed..a mark that shows
We proudly strut like birds that crow
Our hijabs pulled tight...our thobes just so
AstagfirAllahs from our lips do flow
Kneading our misbahs like the bakers dough
Puffed up pride...monumental egos
As if Muslims are the only ones that know
Of what God really means...of what God only knows

Ramadan...a gift..a month He did instate
A chance to wipe clean the slate
Of sins that called and sealed our fates
To live in a world filled with hate
Your wrong Im right...with no debate
Raised fists...raised prides...two deadly mates
That oft forget God is One...God is Great
All men from one He did create

So unbending...our knees...our heads...our pride
Shown plainly to You are the sins we hide
Lifes not excuse we cried
So said those from the past as they died
With the weight of burdens...not an easy ride
As if old age is assured...time set aside
For a miss spent youth..a Path denied
Two angels watchful by our sides

This month so fake...we are so devout
A month we just cant live without
To deny ourselves whats ours by right
Nothing in the day...but plenty at night
A blessed month...a cooling breeze
That will only temporarily freeze
The hypocrisy that feeds our souls
Hypocrisy that only grows
Until God is lost among the throes
Of sanctimonious beards..of Sharia robes
The Path is blurred with fables and stories
Muslim pride lives on in age old glories
Believing we are blessed by the Prophets light
But ignoring the Prophet who gave insight
To seeking Gods Mercy...Forgiveness and Love
3 blessings in abundance sent down from above
With hot claims from the righteous but fingers in ears
We demand our rights...but fail to hear
How God in His Mercy will pardon but a few
Oh can you be so sure its YOU?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ramadan is coming....

Dear God,

Ramadan is just around the corner...a few days is all that is left between what I have been this past year...and what I hope to become during this Holiest of Months. I must admit...there have been plenty of times when the idea of You was the very last thing on my mind...I realize You are closer to me than my jugular vein...but You know better than me that I have been far from You. There have even been a few moments during this past year when I felt rebellious at Your plan for me...wanting to reject it and throw it behind me "like a thing forgotten"...but I can never really forget You...try as I might...You are in my my my blood. I anticipate the coming of Ramadan like a lover waiting for her love....with rapidly beating heart and lightheadedness....I yearn for Ramadan to arrive so to begin my metamorphisis...from earth dweller to heavenly seeker.

I must admit God that I am often confused and hurt by Your plan for me and those near to me. I cannot understand why the lessons you teach must be hard and painful in order to learned and benefited from...I want ease in my life...I want the road...the be smooth and uncorrupted with hate, pain, burdens or rejection. I wish only for ease of the soul...why cant I have this God....why must I bear these burdens when the burden quite often seems too heavy to bear...and cost more than Im willing to pay? Why cant the path to You be a straight shot without so much as a speedbump to slow me down...why?

Sometimes I cry You know...of course You know. I cry from fear and pain...from uncertainy and anger...from feelings of uselessness and powerlessness in my own life. I rage against the night and greet the early morning sun with frustration and desparation to figure this all out and make sense of it....I never make sense of it...and so I cry some more. Why must I can You sit by and let me cry when You could vey well give me the answers I seek? I know Your there why?

Ramadan is coming....let it be my panache...the healing balm to soothe my tired and weary heart. It has been a long year God...I have often felt that I travelled it alone...I hate to be alone...the worst feeling in the world is to feel that you are alone...I feel it God...I feel sometimes that You abandoned me and went off to spend some time with those that have a deeper faith in you...who wants to spend time with a crybaby who doesnt even understand the why's of it all....I wouldnt want to spend time with me either....but I dont like to feel alone. My soul often echoes with the loneliness of space...I long to fill it again me to help myself.

Ramadan is coming....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Going for the Gold baby!

Every now and then I get an odd feeling come over me...starts somewhere around my toes and travels to various parts of my body and usually ends up somewhere in a dark region of my brain...a place full of cobwebs and lost gets swept out now and then...approximately every 4 clockwork. do the Olympics.

Im not sure if this happens to everyone who watches the Olympics on tv...but this is my story.

Im one of those people that are "gonna" do something...soon as the time is right. Like Im "gonna" start jogging(ok maybe walking)...soon as the weather improves(I live in Bahrain so we get varying degrees of Hot mixed with Humid...never a good time to walk)...or Im "gonna" start working out at the gym...soon as I run out of endless excuses not to...sigh....and my all time favorite...Im 'gonna" work out to that new exercise video I just bought...soon as I get around to unwrapping it(blow off the dust first) any rate...I spend more time thinking about exercising and engaging in some sort of sport...then actually doing it.(if only thinking burned enough calories to earn a 6 pack...Im there baby!...but theres something about watching the Olympics that just makes you want to jump up and burn a calorie or two.

So instead every 4 years my flabby backside and I sit down to enjoy a little armchair sport viewing and accompaning commentary while viewing undoubtably the most capable athletes on the planet. Now I do not profess to know a whole lot about the varying sports that are displayed from morning til night on my big screen tv...but I sure know enough to engage in my own Olympic sport I like to call...."What the Hells Wrong With You....!"....I like to believe Ive got the Gold cornered on this one.

Lets start with diving...I love to watch diving. Little skimpy bodies in barely there swimsuits on athletes that barely register 100 pounds soaking wet(the water that drips off my body when Im wet probably weighs more than any of them)...when they line up on the board...everyone goes quiet...the commentator is practically whispering out the statistics of the diver and the difficulty of his dive...the look of intense concentration before that little dip on the board and away he goes...flips..twists...toe touches and cannonballs (oops that would be me) are done with fluid agility and barely a splash of water when the diver connects....and the crowd goes crazy....unless of course the diver is an inept idiot that doesnt know how to do a damn thing and them Im up with fist raised shouting at the screen..."whats wrong with you..."...coming out of your tuck so late you practically belly flopped like a beached whale...sheesh ...who spent valuable time and money training you...go home before you shame the whole diving team. (incidently...high marks do not change my opinion that even I could dive better than that King of Splashbacks....idiot)

Then there are the itty bitty gymnastics energizer bunny teams. I can never quite tell how old they are...they all look to be around 10...but the looks in their eyes are very old indeed...very weary...very jaded(except when they win...thats something else all together). Anyhow...these pintsize athletes do things with their bodies that would make Arnold Swarziniggi cry. Leaping in the air at least 10 feet or so(Im sure I could leap at least 11...they arent even trying)...doings so many crazy speed demon like flips forward and back that there is real a danger the earth could be forced to start spinning counterclockwise...(watching someone do backflips makes me just want to jump up and do a backflip...looks easy enough...hold on a sec...let me check it out....if I dont come back to this post...somebody please call 999)

(limping back to the computer....ouch)....note to self...backflips are about as easy to do as frontflips...which I cant do need to work on that.

Last but not least(for me) are the swimmers...swimmers are different than divers in that they spend a whole lot more time in the water...and generally their bodies are more muscular and filled out...but still in barely there swimsuits...Im assuming its only a matter of time until someone suggests swimming naked will shave a few milliseconds off the world record...dont believe me..just wait. Maybe skinny dipping will eventually become a spectator sport with large amounts of prize money up for grabs...(oh come to think of already is back in my hometown...thanks to an inborn resistance to authority mixed with liberal amounts of alcohol). Anyhow....there I am..practically bent over on my own starting block waiting for the whistle...3....2...1....and they are OFF!!!!!....swimmmmmmmmmm you bastards...stroke stroke....kick those damn legs...what the hells wrong with look like your swimming backwards....kick dammit....come on come ooooonnnnnn....who taught you to swim....your granma? Come on .....I could do better than that(lucky for you guys I break out in chlorine rich pools so you will just have to take my word for it....I could take every damn one of you....with my hands tied behind my big wussies....sheesh). I love watching Olympic swimming....makes me want to get wet...(well crashing into the coffeetable attempting my backflip did result in a face full of juice..but not what I was thinking). I think if I start training right now I could be ready in 4 years to make a run for the Gold...yeah I could do it...go to the pool every day....spend a few some laps....yeah..I could do that...well...maybe tomorrow...I got to work on my backflips today....ouch.

Good thing these darn Olympics only come around every 4 years...dont think I could take this hardcore workout more often than that....ouch...heaven forbid I should do develop a muscle...oh damn....forgot about the winter olympics....thats something else altogether....swish!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Somersaults in the Grass!

I was chatting to my daughters earlier who happen to be on the other side of the planet now...and have been for a month. I miss them terribly. There is hole in my heart that will not be filled again until they are within hugging distance once more. I still pretty much feel it was the right thing to do sending them there...but who knew missing someone could be akin to a physical pain that tylenol and the like cant touch?

My oldest daughter was showing me her new mobile phone by holding it up close to the webcam. I could see pics she had taken of her and her sister etc. They we grainy and hard to see but I was still happy to see them...allowing me to be sure that they were happy and fairly much as could be expected anyhow. However, it was when she showed me a short video she had recorded of her sister that I truly felt my heart skip a beat...and then settle down at last...believing with all my being that sending them home was exactly the right thing to do...and all because of a somersault in the grass.

Allow me to explain. The video showed my youngest daughter in the yard attempting to do a somersault. She would try...then fall..then try again...and fall...and there would be much laughing and goading to try again from those off camera...and she would. The video lasted about 3 minutes but I found myself with my nose practically pressed up to the small webcam window trying to take in every detail of that small grainy video....and a huge grin was on my is why.

Here in this country the female body is viewed as "walking fitna"..meaning that everything a female chooses to do with her body must first pass the acceptance of the males in that society she resides in...less she entice them and lead them to commit a haram act (it would be her fault of course as men have no control over their sexual tendencies...or so Ive been told). At any rate...because the female body is just a vagina with legs(throw in a pair of breasts too if you must)...then whatever she is doing...means her vagina is doing it too...and that means she is calling attention to her vagina...and that of course is HARAM!! Which leads to the very strongly held opinion that females should never ever engage in any sort of physical activity while outside and under the observance of the male gaze. Thus no bike basketball or any such similar sport...and definitely no somersaults or backflips or headstands...or any of those childhood forms of physical exertion we all did growing up. A trip to the park is a very stark lesson in this "rule"...boys will be running all over the place like wild boys the world over do...and girls will be most likely either sitting with the family...or walking quietly along talking with a friend or sister etc. Only the very young girls can get away with running about and just "being a kid"...being a kid only lasts until your around 6 or 7...after that...obey the rules and always always ALWAYS remember that your just a vagina in the eyes of the public...most especially the male public.

So Ive always been saddened a great deal that my girls could not "play" outside like I did as a child. They couldnt play tag...couldnt ride bikes...couldnt scream and shout and run around like wild animals less someone scold them and shame them into behaving other words...reminding them that they had a vagina that needed taming. Eventually they would give up in even trying to attempt to play...and just resign themselves to sitting or walking good little girls. I wont say they always obeyed the "rules" ...but then again...even prisoners riot now and then just to let off some steam.

So there I was...watching my daughter from the tiny screen of a mobile camera held up to the equally tiny screen of the webcam window watching her attempt some somersaults in the grass...and I felt like my heart would burst from the happiness it felt. At daughter being what she has always been but was never allowed to be...a girl...a child... fun loving, playing outside and enjoying LIFE...without the glares from the public...without the shaming hisses to behave herself...without the condemnations and whispered threats of haram and hellfire promised....she was having fun...and all of this heartache and missing of her that I have felt this past month melted away(almost...sigh) when I realized I most definitely did the right thing. All this suffering being apart...all this heartache that squeezes my heart in a vise like grip...all this worry and anxiety about what I sent them too...and what they left behind (us)...just didnt seem to matter while I watched her heart was mind was resolve was strong...and all because of a somersault.

but I still miss them ...sigh!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lets Kill the Ones That Stay....Not the Ones That Go!!!

Islam as a religion and Islam as a culture(sometimes hard to tell the difference) are two very different concepts. In Islam, or rather the Quran...we for the most of a Merciful Loving God that is quick to forgive and overlook our weaknesses...yet Islam via culture apparently wants to harm us or put us to death for every percieved "unIslamic" action. I realize that there are specific punishments for crimes laid out clearly in the Quran...and that we as Muslims should follow them and avoid those crimes to protect ourselves from the punishment...but why is the Quran so often ignored in favour of culture...or even hadith when it comes to doling out the punishments?

Im specifically referring to apostacy here...or murtad. We all know there is no ayat in the Quran that even comes close to specifying death for that death for apostacy are an Islamic requirement are "proved" by using outside sources...such as hadith. Muslims will be very firm in their belief that our Prophet was within his power to mandate death for someone that failed to view Islam as their path in life....despite the many many instances when God mentions that believers who come near to unbelief then again believe and again return to unbelief etc...will be the losers in the Hereafter. Putting someone to death for leaving Islam sounds like closing the barn door after the horse ran away...what is the purpose of it...their punishment is all ready ordained...why do Muslims feel the need to hurry them along towards that punishment?

Personally I do not care in the least if someone feels Islam is not for them for whatever reason...they are taking nothing from me...only from themselves. I dont understand why Muslims get so upset and paranoic about Muslims that no longer find Islam palatable and wish to find something else to take its place. There are many paths to God yes...or is a rigid "we will kill you if you dont believe what we believe" the only recommended path to God for some? Has any Muslim who faced a murtad...or apostate ever bothered to ask them why they decided to leave...have they sat down with them and tried to dialogue with them and discover the reason for the change of heart...I find it rather unlikely when all we generally see when it comes to Muslim reaction to apostates is rioting...and screams for death...yes...that will definitely bring that straying Muslim back into the "safe" folds of Islam. If the person had any doubts before taking the step to leave...Im sure Muslims foaming at the mouth and hell bent on getting the chance to throw some stones will not convince them that maybe they made a mistake...and decide to stick around and take another stab at it.

As I said, personally I am not bothered in the least by those that decide to leave...let them leave and find their own way without the guiding light of Islam...maybe they will come back..maybe they wont...but the choice is given to them by leave them to it. I am more fearful of the Muslims that stay...stay and corrupt this beautiful deen into something worth fearing and running from. Why dont we cry for the death of Muslims that corrupt the very words of God and make it a fearful and oppressive religion for women...rather than a joyful spirtitual experience? Why dont we cry for the death of Muslims that prohibit other religions from being practiced even though God specifically allows that? Why dont we cry for the death of Muslims that believe forced marriages are Islamic...that do not allow women to divorce and keep then in bondage similar to prisoners...why dont we cry for the death of Muslims that consider beating wives and daughters Islamically mandated and that killing females for perceived shame is a deed worth feeling proud over...without fear of reprisal from either the community or from the authorities for the most part? Why dont we cry for the death of Muslims that make a complete mockery of this perfect and beautiful religion given to us by God...and yet turn it into something that gets displayed on the evening news like tabloid fodder that makes us all look like brainwashed backward women hating and oppressive sheep that will kill you if you choose to believe all this "do it our way or die" religious lifestlye is perfect and shouldnt be abondoned for something inferior like Christianity...which incidently hasnt stoned anyone to death in recent history far as Im aware.

In other words...lets kill the ones that stay and cause corruption, oppression, misinformation, and make this a religion solely for mans ego and pride...and let the ones that wish escape Go!

*violence doesnt solve anything...doesnt convince anyone...and definitely is not Islamically mandated by either God or the Prophet. My desire to "kill" is a play on case anyone didnt catch that.