United We Stand

Congratulations to all Muslims on the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s) and on Unity Week! 🙂

It’s hard to believe how out of touch with things I sometimes am. I didn’t even know the concept of Unity Week until about three years ago. I used to wonder if that made me a ‘bad’ Muslim, what with everyone around me singing its praises. Now I just accept the fact that in that precarious period when I was re-discovering my inner self, I missed out on a lot of what was going on around me.

That means not being up to date on the political front and on things like the Iranian Revolution and the amazing man behind it. I don’t like it when people look at me like they expect me to know something just because I happen to come from a ‘religious’ family or because I teach at the madrasa. I don’t know things. I don’t know lots of things. More than I shouldn’t. And I’m only just realising it fully.

There’s SO much to learn, to understand, to adopt in life, to change that it makes me dizzy. I’m overwhelmed with my own ignorance.

But I take heart from the fact that I have realised this shortcoming and now I can actually do something about it. It’s so difficult to break out of the lethargy of just living every day as it comes and actually beginning pro-actively to make changes in your life. You burn physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. It’s like a full body workout!

But that’s the challenge and just anticipating the work that lies ahead gives life some of its true meaning. You can finally see that there IS a goal and feel that maybe – just maybe – you might be able to reach it.

And one of the best ways to do that according to Imam Ali (a) in Nahjul Balagha is to seek lessons from history. So I went hunting (unconsciously, because in actual fact I was just looking for something to occupy me) and came across this gem of little book called ‘Rays of the Sun: 83 stories from the life of Imam Khomeini (ra)*’ which is a collection of small anecdotes from his life related by those around him.

It’s amazing how much you can learn from it although most of the stories literally focus on only one aspect or moment of his life. I love the last one which is an article by Robin Woodsworth Carlsen in which he describes the first time he saw Imam Khomeini (ra) and when he ends, he says that despite the stern, almost ferocious look in photographs, Imam Khomeini (ra) inspired a feeling in him (Robert) that he could only describe as ‘love’.

Makes me wish I had been in Imam Khomeini (ra)’s presence even once. Or that I could be in the presence of anyone like him in my life. But it also makes me wonder in awe, that if Khomeini (ra) who was a man just like any other and reached his status through struggle can rise to heights that inspire such feelings, what then will it be like to be in the presence of Imam Mahdi (a) who was Khomeini’s Master …

Bint Ali
*(ra)- Initials for the Arabic phrase: “May God be pleased with him”


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