I Beg To Differ: Beg to Differ Used as a Hedge to Help Receiver of Message; Ponderous Defined; Book Review of an Amazing Book Only Just Begun; New Times Demand New Forms of Study and Worship; Canadian Magazine The Walrus, So Informative and Timely; Two Unusual Photos from a Shopping Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; My Life is Unusual 

I am about to differ with many, if not most of those, of the Islamic faith. It shall run the gambit from learned Islamic scholars, to ‘wanna be ‘Islamic scholars, right down to lazy Muslims born into faith, profiting from its vast benefits armed with only the most cursory knowledge and the obligatory practices kept to a bare minimum.


 The phrase beg to differ came to mind, so off to Google went I. “I beg to differ” is a candid way of saying “I disagree”. The terms used are quite emotive, as the phrase suggests that the speaker is quite literally begging to establish themselves opposed to the viewpoint in discussion. This courteous formula for expressing disagreement echoes similar uses of beg in the sense of “ask,” such as I beg your pardon, so used since about 1600. It is used to hedge, or soften, what is about to be said, to help protect the receiver of the message. 

Read the Quran is the universal mandate to all. In extreme circumstances one should not only read but memorize.  This is the mandate from babes in arms to elderly reverts such as myself. That was my instruction – I dutifully did so. It was difficult and ponderous at times. By ponderous I mean: laborious, forced, stilted, solemn, serious, prolix. An antonym of ponderous is lively. 

I now consider myself safely and solidly into the faith. Adding to my information and knowledge by reading Muhammed: His Life based on the Earliest Sources. THAT is the way to begin for so many reasons. The jacket cover says it better than I ever could, it shall be quoted. “For those interested in Islam in one way or another, it is mesmerizing.” “This work is widely recognized as the most readable accounts of the life of the Prophet to date” (Times of London) 

Martin Lings’ biography of Muhammed is an internationally acclaimed, comprehensive, and authoritative account of the life of the Prophet. Based on the sent, the eighth and ninth century Arabic biographies that recount numbers events in the Prophet’s life, it contains original English translations of many important passages that reveal the words of men and women who heard Muhammed speak and witnessed the events of his life. Scrupulous and exhaustive in its fidelity to its sources, Muhammed: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources is presented in a narrative style that is easily comprehensible, yet authentic and inspiring in its use of language, reflecting both the simplicity and grandeur of the story it tells. 

Information about the author, Martin Lings is provided. Martin Lings (1909-2005) was a renowned British scholar with degrees in English and Arabic from London University and Oxford University. At Oxford he studied English under C.S. Lewis – who later became a close friend. …He is the author of twelve books on religion and spirituality. “ 

The book has been so inspiring.  it begins with conditions prior to the birth of the Prophet (PBUH), the circumstances of his birth very difficult and the difficulties continued suffering so much abuse, humiliation, his life circumstances, the death of his beloved wife. And I am only on page 107 of the 362 page book. The immensity of his devotion to Allah (SWT) becomes truly staggering, his patience at adversities constantly encountered.  It is not an easy read due to the complexity of the information but it is definitely worth it. 

It is understandable that for decades (perhaps centuries) reading the Qur’an was the very best way to enter the faith, but times have changed and an individualized approach would be most helpful. I understand that there are simple books for children, providing them with an introduction in terms they can understand. Please wake up traditionalists, there is the Internet, computers, smart phones and iPads. There is an English translation Qur’an on my iPhone, my iPad has a Muslim app which informs me of prayer times, a live reel from the Kaabal can be constantly played the 99 names of Allah is music to my ears, providing the names in both English and Arabic. I often listen and recite after the five obligatory daily prayers. I am blessed, having the time to listen and to learn and to write, not impeded by working at least eight hours a day, my apartment small and uncrowded, its cleanliness assured by the weekly visits of W.O.M.AN. I definitely have the freedom and opportunity to worship. No husband, boyfriend, children or grandchildren to occupy my time. I am truly blessed. 

But it is also essential to live in the world, understand what is going on around. A woman, casually met at Shopper’s Drug Mart told me of a Canadian magazine, Walrus. I, admittedly, know little of today’s Canada because I spent most of my life in the USA. Began reading the Special 2023 Winter Issue last evening. The Editor’s Letter was most enlightening. It began: “One of the biggest challenges in journalism today is the need to confirm and defend what a fact is. If you’re a regular reader of The Walrus, you probably know we fact-check to a very high standard. The magazines current and former heads of research have developed a fact-checking guide. “The free guide was presented at a three day conference at Carleton University in October and is available at theijproject.ca.” I intend to visit the guide upon the completion of this blog. Editor Jessica Johnson went on to discuss fake news. “Fake news has been in the air for so long now that I worry we overemphasize the risk it poses while glossing over other imminent dangers to journalism, like the dwindling number of professional media outlets and shrinking revenue streams. But we see the real-world consequences of mis-and disinformation, whether it’s in Russian interference in the recent US midterm elections, the spending of online conspiracy theories by Alberta premier Danielle Smith, or policy changes at Twitter that have relaxed content moderation standards and amplified discriminatory speech.”

That hit rather close to home. Alberta premier Smith’s office is probably about two blocks from my apartment. Not sure what I can do about that situation.

Last night began to read one story in the issue, “The Secret of Pierre Poilievere’s Success.” Stephen Maher analyzed the data behind Pierre’s rise and found a high correlation between his supports who distrusted government along with consumption of disinformation. It is depressing to read as there is absolutely no excuse for ignorance in this country that does value education and does make it accessible to almost all. 

Jessica Johnson ended her Editor’s Letter beautifully: “The fight for good journalism will be won one reader at a time.”  

Two (to me) amazing photographs from a Riyadh shopping center near the Hilton. As If?? Pushed me in a wheelchair to the location. I was later to discover that he did have the musculature to do so. His so called friend sent me a picture of his pecs. Why, I shall never know. One photo is of a Tim Horton’s. This is not understandable as Arab coffee is wonderful, I have never, ever liked Tim Horton’s version. The other is  Victoria’s Secret, showing scanty ‘Western style’ rather sexy attire to be worn in a bedroom. Let the record reflect that I did not go into the store. Now if I had known about those pecs at the time – who knows? I am totally joking – of course not. I could have bought it for him though – it would have been a strange display. 

My life is unusual to say the least.  This definition of unusual the best: remarkable or interesting because different from or better than others.  Here are the synonyms I prefer: unparalleled, unprecedented, prodigious; mind-boggling, mind-blowing.

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