I’ve Caught The Bug!

I’m on facebook! Check out my page or search for Bint Ali 🙂

Well, actually I’ve been on facebook for over a year, but I just never was inspired to do anything on my page.  It seemed like too much work for too small (or non-existent) an audience.  But suddenly, friends and family are popping up on it so I figured, why not use it to stay in touch and avoid the hassle of email.

The only thing I’ve got linked up is this journal so you can read me there if you like. On a personal note, it’s kinda cute, but not really addictive unless you’re a 15-year-old with no other aim in life except to excel at social skills.

Completely the opposite of the whole curb-the-inner-chatter and listen-to-the-sound-of-silence movement. 

College starts tomorrow and I’m so determined to make sure things are more balanced this semester.  I’m hoping I can manage that, although I should be saying that “I will manage it” and “I have managed it already”. 

No, I’m not talking about applying the speed of light theory.  I watched The Secret on DVD.  And I’m trying to put into practice the whole Law of Attraction and Attitude of Gratitude principle.

It’s amazing how so much of what these guys say is Islamic, and I’m wondering why no one seems to realise that the one thing all these different ‘amazing’ and ‘change-your-life’ theories have in common is that they are all mentioned in Islam!

So there we go, another reason to apply the AoG – Thank God for making me a Muslim! 😀

S’laams,
Bint Ali

Current Saying: 

“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”
-Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., novelist (1922-2007)

Dyed … and no sign of Heaven

Yup, my hair’s black once again.  No silver Storm-like streaks to make me look funky.  My mum didn’t appreciate the analogy when I tried it on her.   I guess it does look better in the movies than in real life.


***


Joy to the world … words that come from a Christian hymn, but could not be more true when applied to this day in Islamic history.

People wonder at our mourning on Ashura (and over two months) for Imam Husayn (a), but rarely do they get to know of our celebration on the birth of this king.  A king who rules over land, hearts, ideals and time.  A king whose reign is as powerful today as it was centuries ago.  A king in the true sense the word was created for.

How is it possible to explain that Imam Husayn (a) is alive here, now and today and he has always been?  How to decipher that phenomenon when we can barely understand it ourselves?  We know it, we sense it, we feel it, but so few of us truly imbibe it.

For a long time, I was at the forefront of the IslamEqualsLogic lobby, but recently I’ve been forced to re-evaluate my ‘solid’ opinions.  Yes, there is no doubt that Islam is based on logic, but precisely because it is such a perfect system, it caters for all aspects of the human being – physical, mental and spiritual.

As empowering as it is to be able to say that I subscribe to a faith that satisfies me on an intellectual level (and encourages me to explore the limits of my mental capacity), it is also fulfilling and beautiful to be able to say that I follow a faith that allows me a chance to achieve that deep inner peace that the whole world covets at some point in time or the other.

A lot of us think that by admitting that the last step of faith must be taken not with pure logic, but with pure feeling and emotion, we are somehow sullying the name of Islam or demeaning it.  That is the biggest mistake we make.  I’ve found over time that the simplest analogies are usually the most effective.  (Why go around the long way, when the short one works just as well?)  So here goes.

Nothing in this world is made of simply one medium, because none is perfect for every job.  The potency of any system is when it makes use of the best and strongest qualities of a number of different materials.  You use iron in foundations, and then concrete or stone for the building and glass for windows.  You’d never think to build a house on a foundation of glass or use stone for making windows, because each material has a different unique characteristic that makes it perfect for its application.

Religion is pretty much the same.  To make a perfect belief-system, you build on the strengths of the entire human being.  You appeal first to logic and then compound that logic with practical application, and finally strengthen and give it a sheen with the glaze of faith. 

Blind faith doesn’t work because it’s not based on logic.  But that doesn’t mean that educated faith is based on logic alone.  If you are standing on one side of a wide ravine and can see a bridge suspended in front of you, as long as it is stretched out vertically and is stable to your foot, it doesn’t matter if you can see the other end or not.  You know it’s safe to cross.   You know something is holding it up at the other end.

The more rickety the bridge seems, the less likely you are to trust it. Your choice should depend on whether it’s a swaying rope-bridge that could lose slats along the way or fray when you’re half way across or whether it’s a well-lighted concrete structure with a smooth, paved path.

Islam, I believe, not only has the most solid structure, it’s also got the best lighting along the way 🙂


***


It is Shaban, the only month in the entire Islamic calendar without a sad event to commemorate.  And the month in which 4 of the most influential personalities were born.  If you know of them, then be glad that you were blessed with this mercy.  

Because those who live their lives without ever knowing how much they owe Imam Husayn (a) and Abbas ibn Ali (a) for the moral system they rely on today, or those who have never recited and wept over the perfection of the du’as of Imam Ali Zaynul Abideen (a) or those who are not waiting for the Hidden Sun to re-appear from behind the clouds or do not sit to write him letters of love every week… these people are deprived of the true essence of life.  And they don’t even realise it.


S’laams
Bint Ali

P.S. My USB flashdisk did burn out.  All that info – poof!

Things I’m Prayin’ For

1. Incentive to write those darned articles that haunt me at 3 a.m. when I’m in bed sans computer and spectacles.

2. Emails in my inbox.

3. That my LG USB flashdisk is not really corrupted. All my work is in that small thing. Curses!

4. A more interesting life. And not in the ancient Chinese definition of the word.

5. More emails in my inbox.

6. For everything to work normally and without glitches just for a short period of time.

7. Better colour sense.

8. Sudden ability to make funky illustrations.

9. Lots of books. And emails. Preferably in my inbox – the emails, not the books.

10. Emotional stability. And the sense to stop making the same mistake over and over and over and…

11. A flowing-from-my-fingers-faster-than-I-can-type-them river of words that will form my next perfectly-plotted, intriguing and bestselling novel.

12. That thing that I can’t define or put in words, but that I’m sure will make my existence complete once I get it.

S’laams,
Bint Ali

Current saying: 
A woman’s head is always influenced by heart; but a man’s heart by his head. 
-Lady Marguerite Blessington (1789-1849)

Who Stole My Sky?

Lots of stuff happening and nothing much either.  We changed our ISP so that means I have do one of those mass mails and because I’m me, I can’t imagine doing a simple “Address changed” one.  If you’re in my address book, I promise to try and make you smile.  If I don’t succeed, don’t tell me.
 
On the home front, it’s the Battle of the Birds all over again.  We went up from 7 to 13.  That’s thirteen, with a thir.  And then we did the unthinkable.  We stopped feeding them.  And really, as heart-rending as it was, it worked.  For all of them, except the original two.

Momma and Poppa bird have taken residence on my window.  And it’s not even the one I used to put out seeds on.  One of them sits on the internet cable that runs from my window to the roof and the other sits on the sill.  And my mother can’t stand it.  

So she finally decided to take matters into her own hand and barricaded the window with dark plastic and cardboard and anything else she could find that could be taped to the wall.  The result?  My small patch of sky is gone!   The little view I had of the occasional cloud and stray sunbeam. Gone!  The gentle breeze that used to carry over wafts from the neighbour’s cooking pots.  Gone!  The very pale pre-dawn light that used to indicate that night was turning to day and I should get to bed.  Gone!  The dirty yellow and faded grey skies that would tell me when to expect rain. Gone! Gone! Gone!

Now I have to turn on the fluorescent lights at 9 in the morning just to see where the computer is.  It was bad enough being imprisoned behind shuttered glass and grills, but to have my patch of sky taken away.  It’s tragic.    And by the way, the birds are still there.

See, because the windows don’t open up completely, we can’t reach the far end of the sill to cover it up, and on that little tiny bit of uncovered stone, the pigeon struggles all night to find a claw-hold – I can hear her slip and flutter – but she (somehow I think it’s the Momma – only a female could be this resilient) insists on sleeping there, with the Poppa sitting above her in respectful guard.  I think he gets a better deal, despite the shaky cable.

Ah well, my mother will conquer them.  She always does in the end.  And I’ll be sure to make a post about it.

On to other things.  My hols are coming along nicely and very fruitfully too.  I’ve managed to put the college magazine behind me, and I’ve got back on the kid’s one too.  Just editing, nothing else, which suits me fine.  I cleaned up my room completely and got rid of about 5 boxes of assorted junk: books, items to return to people, scrap I’ll never use, old clothes.  I can’t believe how much I’ve managed to collect in just a few years.  I think I probably have another three boxes worth I can easily get rid of – but I’m taking a break for now.

Cleaning was fun though.  I found old pieces of writing that brought back vivid (and sometimes embarrassing) memories – which only reminded me how powerful words can be.  I discovered a whole treasure-load of books I had collected to read ‘someday’ that I never got around to, and now they line the shelf next to my bed so I can make sure I do read them.  

 

I have African writers, American writers, British writers, Russian writers, Indian writers, dead writers, very-much-alive writers, fiction, non-fiction, books that smell like they just came fresh-off-the-presses and crackle when you turn the page for the very first time and books that smell like musty old people and fall apart when you simply finger the edges of their covers.   Are you drooling yet?  Don’t worry, when I first set eyes on the sorted out shelf, I had to reach for a hanky too.

So a week and a half left and things are well.  Actually make that swell.  

S’laams
Bint Ali

Normal Life

I’m fluctuating between settling down to pre-college routine and suffering withdrawal symptoms from it. Both are good for me at this point in time, I think. Kind of distracts me from the other stuff in the background. Dear God, I hope the next semester doesn’t hold any surprises. I can’t handle those anymore. Maybe, was created for a dull, monotonous life (not.)

But while I enjoy and revel in normality, normalcy, or whatever the correct term is, the words are coming back!  And that is always, but always, a plus point to any day or night. I’ve been picking stuff up from here and there so I guess the next couple of weeks are as good a time as any to do some cut’n’paste.

I read this some time ago, I’m not sure I’m a Walt Whitman fan, but this touched a soft spot, it’s his poem “Among the Multitude”:

Among the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else – not parent, wife, husband, brother, child,
Any nearer than I am,
Some are baffled – but that one is not – that one knows me.

Ah lover and perfect equal ,
I meant that you should discover me so by faint indirections,
And I when I meet you mean to discover you by the like in you.

The commentor who was quoting him said:

“Whitman demonstrates a similarity between people because of some common ground. Although this poem is meant to express a hidden love between a man and a woman, the idea of a common ground work between people can be positioned between artists.

In this work Whitman is saying that people with this tie between them know that it is there and can recognize it in an instant. Great artists with a creative nature share a passion for their art as well as a unique way of expressing it. Where does this passion and ability for unique expression come from?”

 Where indeed? Some days I feel like I have that passion within me, no matter how difficult or awkward or discomfiting it is to have to admit to it.  (And why is it that it’s so hard to admit to the simple human capacity to feel?)  I feel like I could blend into a crowd of artists and not only learn from them, but actually have something to share.

Other days, I wonder who I’m kidding when I think that I have something the world might want to see or read or bother about.  My mind feels like a murky bog and my thoughts trudge around slugglishy, barely making it into existence.  And it embarasses me to remember the things I have written or drawn or said that seemed so vivid and important to express.

I wonder why I’m rarely so satisfied with anything I do, as to want to claim it as my own for ever. At some point in time, I want to hide it away and wish no one had ever set eyes on it. The passage of hours or days or weeks seems to water down the intensity of the moment of its creation and it becomes a pale shadow of what it was meant to be.

It’s hard admitting that you are so personally involved in something and still sticking to that feeling even when other people don’t seem to be as inspired by it as you had hoped.  I guess the secret is in learning to love and respect your own worth, regardless of whether other people approve or not. Placing your value in the esteem of those around you is a dangerous thing to do. And it’s something I succumb to over and over again.  I wish I didn’t, but I do.  A simple statement, heck, even a glance can unbalance me.

I don’t know where I picked up that habit or even why, but I know I have to get rid of it.  Until I do, there will always be that essential core within me that will remain locked to everyone, including my self.

S’laams,
Bint Ali

Current Saying: 

“Since we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our minds, our one duty is to furnish it well. “
-Peter Ustinov, actor, writer and director (1921-2004)