My Extraordinary Life of Late; A Dream Leads to Search for Knowledge Which is Amply Rewarded; Extraordinary Defined with Synonyms Used Extensively; My Personality of Olde, If it Worth Doing, its Worth Overdoing; Haunted by Repetitive Bad Dreams But Knowledge Found Through the Internet; the Islamic Faith has Answers to Everything; Sunday an Amazeballs Day; Assistance Up the Hill, a Conversation with a Man of the Druze Faith; Photos from Sunday

Do let us first define and explore the word extraordinary. Its simple meaning is very unusual or remarkable  it is necessary to explore some of its synonyms which have such scope: amazing, astounding, marvelous, wonderful, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious, striking,  outstanding, momentous, impressive, preeminent, memorable, unforgettable, never to be forgotten, unique, arresting, noteworthy, great; out of the ordinary, unusual, surprising, curious, uncanny; terrific, tremendous, stupendous, awesome, amazeballs, out of this world, wondrous.

The things that happen to me of late, the directions in which I am led in my search for knowledge is nothing sort of shrouding, unique, out of the ordinary and uncanny. First of all it is amusing to realize where I came from – my life of old. This description was found in The New Yorker magazine of September 19,2022: “If it’s worth doing, its worth overdoing.”  That has been the story of my life, a driven woman known for my exes and excesses (and sense of humour as recently illustrated.) But somewhere along my lifeline I changed. My reversion to the Islamic faith as the causative factor but my becoming a Muslim at the age of 77 is wonderful, miraculous, out of the ordinary and stupendous in itself.  As I immerse myself more in the faith, largely through self study, my life becomes more and more amazeballs.

I shall recount the events of this last weekend my stumbling upon events, people and places that were truly outstanding but first of all, shall speak of this very morning, September 26, 2022. I awoke to the chiming alarm of my iPhone announcing that it was time for Fajr prayer. I was not at my best as I awoke from a rather troubling dream – not a repetitive dream but one in which the scene is the same – I am surrounded by cold and careless people, am dependent upon them and therefore most eager to please but the confusion and chaos of their existence makes it impossible so I am alone and isolated.  In the past (pre Muslim days) I have studied dreams, both scholastically and on a personal basis. Aided by Wise Man learned that dreams are the expression of the unconscious. The unconscious has no time frame (according to him) and therefore you are cast backwards to an earlier time. The unconscious must be soothed, be made more comfortable and then it will not scream out in the night to you.

But I needed more, this knowledge was incomplete. I dimly recalled that the Islamic faith had a name for the unconscious  – that is absolutely astounding in itself as the Quran was written 1700 years ago. I was inspired, hopeful so I looked for greater knowledge. Good old Google to the rescue and I was rescued. Here is the A bstract of a scientific study:  Ann Thorac Med. 2018 Apr-Jun; 13(2) 72-75 Ann Thorac Med. 2018 Apr-Jun; 13(2): 72–75.

“Islamic civilization between the 7th and the 15th centuries made great contributions to the development of science and medicine, and discoveries made during this time formed the basis for the emergence of the European Renaissance. Muslims view sleep as one of the great signs of Allāh, and a number of Muslim scholars studied and wrote on sleep and dreams. However, Muslim scholars’ contributions to this topic have not been adequately represented in modern scholarship. Islamic scholars did far more than simply act as the preservers of the antiquity and Greek knowledge, but rather laid significant foundation, translation, interpretation, and transference of knowledge and experience, and have contributed original works in many fields of science and medicine including sleep. This brief article introduces some of the writings by Muslim scholars and philosophers about the importance of sleep, some sleep disorders, and dreams.”

This is the first paragraph of this well researched work. “Islam looks at sleep as one of the great signs of the Creator (Allāh) and asks followers to study this sign (for details, the readers are referred to two recent reviews).[1,2] One verse in the Qur’an says, “And among His signs is your sleep by night and by day and your seeking of His bounty, verily in that are signs for those who hearken” (Sūra: 30, verse: 23).[1] Following this, a number of Muslim scholars developed an interest in sleep as a sign of the greatness of the Creator and explored sleep and dreams in their writings. This topic did not receive the attention it deserves in the modern literature. Therefore, we wrote this short communication to review some of the contributions of the middle age (medieval) Muslim scholars to the understanding of sleep and dreams.”

The article puts the writer back in time and in history to explain the loss of this vital knowledge.
“Islamic civilization prevailed between the 7th to 15th centuries and covered three continents from China in the East to Spain in the West, including areas in Far East Asia.[3,4] The development of medieval Islamic medicine was an important step in the evolution of science, as it adopted and improved upon techniques from older civilizations and served as the basis for the later emergence of European civilization during the Renaissance. Unfortunately, a significant part of this scientific heritage was lost during the Mongol invasion (1258 C.E.).[5] It has been estimated that <1 in every 1000 books from the time survived the invasion.[6,7] The destruction of this scientific heritage has been instrumental in the lack of proper representation of Muslim writings on medicine in European academia and modern literature.”

I was vitally interested in dreams but medieval Muslim scholars also studied sleep, summarized in this paragraph. “Several Muslim scholars and scientists showed great interest in the impact of sleep on health and contributed to the knowledge of the importance of sleep – these scholars include Rhazes (Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, 854 CE– 925 CE), Ibn al-Jazzar (898-980 C.E.), Avicenna (Abu Ali Al-Hussain Bin Ali Ibn Sina, 980-1037 C.E.), and Ibn al-Ash’ath (death 975 CE).

Exploration of this was fascinating but I read onward looking for the jewels of knowledge about dreams. The Introductory paragraph: “ The Qur’an uses several terms to refer to dreams such as ru’ya (vision), hulm (dream), manam (sleep), and bushra (tidings). Muslims consider some dreams to be a kind of spiritual perception. One Hadith says that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “A good dream vision of a pious man is a forty-sixth part of prophecy” (Sahih Muslim 2263). Another Hadith by the Prophet (pbuh) said, “A good vision (ru’ya) is from Allāh and a bad dream (hulm) is from Satan; so if one of you sees anything (in a dream which he dislikes), he should spit on his left side thrice and seek refuge with Allāh from its evil, and then it will never harm him” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 3118). In addition, the Qur’an describes the dream stories of Prophet Yūsuf (Joseph) (pbuh), and these passages provide some of the most important references to dream interpretation used by Muslim scholars. The Qur’an further describes the Prophet Abraham receiving a dream, in which he is instructed to sacrifice his son, and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) dreaming on the night before a battle.[2] Dream interpretation, or oneiromancy, has become an established science in Muslim literature. Muslims use the Arabic terms Tabir or Tafsir to describe dream interpretation.”

The true treasure, exactly what I was unconsciously looking for is found in the last few sentences. “ Ibn Khaldūn (1332-1402 C.E.), a great Muslim scholar and thinker, considered dream interpretation to be a science.[27] In his monumental work Muqaddimah (An Introduction to History), he divided dreams into three types: first, those from God (Allāh): dreams that are clear and unmistakable in their meaning and content. Second, those from Angels: dreams that are received in the form of allegory and require interpretation. Third, those from Satan: these dreams are confusing and futile.[27,28]”

So what does this mean to me and what should I do about it? The confusing and futile repetitive dreams I am having are from Satan. Therefore, I put these dreams aside, stop Satan from whispering in my ear, begin my morning in Fajr prayer to Allah. The more I learn of the Islamic faith the more I see that it has the answer to everything, absolutely everything. The secret is found in the Prayer for Guidance, entreating  Allah to guide you on the Straight Path following the teaching of those who have been blessed by Allah not those who are astray or those Allah is displeased with.

I shall return to yesterday, Sunday in a subsequent blog. It was amazeballs. I suddenly heard the sound of bagpipes – my love of bagpipes is immense, probably genetic as I am 100% Scottish. There was a gathering of men and women in kilts just below my window. I hurriedly dressed so I would not be missing out on anything. Unfortunately forgetting my knee brace in the rush. Some photos will be included. Totally by chance I was able to present at the Annual Alberta Remembrance Ceremony for Those Police Officers who lost their lives, who died in service to their country. This year the event was organized by the RCMP, beautifully and incredibly well organized. I shall speak more of it. Some videos will be posted on Alexis McTwit Instagram. But something curious and uncanny happened afterwards, as I struggled homeward , the pain in my left knee crippling.  A man in uniform walked by and said:
He: Can I help you, can I help you walk up the hill?
Me: Oh my goodness yes. Thank you so much. That would be lovely.
He: Here, take my arm.

We fell into conversation. He works in St. Albert – for the RCMP who are the policing authority in that nearby town. I told him of my return to Edmonton after a fifty-five year absence and also told him of my reversion to the Islamic faith.
He: Do you have family here.
Me: No I do not. I have no family.
He: But you are never alone when Allah is in your life.
Me: That is so true. Are you a Muslim?
He: No, I am from Lebanon. I am a Druze.
Me: I have read about them somewhere. How amazing that we should meet, that you should be helping me get home.
He: Everything happens for a reason.
Me: Yes, that is what the faith teaches – if that is your destiny.

He said that he would take me away from the bustle of downtown Edmonton one day, to the peace of the countryside. Not sure how he is going to manage that as I am unreachable on my blog and he only knows my name – and where I live which is an impenetrable fortress. But we shall see I guess. Suppose he could ask the Property Manager. I am calm, if Allah wants it to happen it will. If not it won’t. I learned more about the Druze faith – most of its adherents are in Lebanon and Syria. There is a famous one – George Clooney’s wife is one half Druze. More about them later as well.

Today is a busy day. I shall be blinded, getting drops in my eyes so the skilled doctor can examine them thoroughly because my right eye was the sight of a TIA in the past. She will see if there is any residual, permanent damage. I will return to my apartment blind but  WOMAN has promised to check in on me. That fills me with a sense of security and safety.

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