I began both 2022 Ramadan and 2023 Ramadan with a list of Intentions, only one of which was to fast. There were six Intentions in 2022, ten were formed in 2023. Intention 3 is to center blog upon activities of Ramadan. That Intention was modified, the blog is now to be centered upon the activities of Ramadan only during the last ten crucial days.
Right now you are probably asking yourself: What is an Intention? An intention is an idea that you plan (or intend) to carry out. It’s something you mean to do, whether you pull it off or not.
Intentions are extremely important in the Islamic Faith. The Arabic word is yyah (Arabic: نِيَّةٌ, variously transliterated niyyah, niyya [ˈnij.jah], “intention”), the concept is that an intention is formed in one’s heart to do an act for the sake of God (Allah).
Intentions are good for everyone because they are powerful tools in committing to, and achieving goals. Intentions provide a road map, once they are set they provide accountability and supports individuals in being able to take control of personal choices and life.
It is almost April 11, so it is best that I take control and begin centering this blog upon the activities of Ramadan.
I am inspired by a paperback book purchased at Alhambra book store for a mere $8.00 dollars, Canadian ($5.90 American). A Glance at the Life of the Holy Prophet of Islam, published in February 1989 was written by Dar Rah Haqq’s Board of Writers, translated by N. Tawheedi.
I began to read, it was riveting. It begins with a description of the pre-Islamic world. You are taken back in time, to understand what the conditions were like in the world before the ‘arrival’ of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). As you shall now read, things were a mess. The book summarizes the state of affairs: (much better than I ever could) “In fact, humanity had been put on the verge of the abyss of total destruction!” Yes indeed, that bad! Never did I realize the blight that existed the world over. Here goes:
Before the advent of Islam, people all over the world were sadly impoverished in thought, opinions, and individual and social attitudes. Although such conditions were not the same the world in all parts of the world, generally speaking, all the people of the world shared superstitious beliefs, intellectual deviations, inhumane social traditions, myths and social and moral conflicts
Before Islam emerged the Jews had changed the religion of Moses into hidebound dogma and its principles into hollow, lifeless rules and precepts The spirit of materialism had penetrated into people’s lives. Unfortunately Christianity which had been presented for the moral rectification and spiritual refinement of the people was changed in nature by the Christian clergy and became a vehicle for the passionate ambitions of most of them. Since it lacked complete comprehensive laws and regulations for social systems it proved unable to provide the people with wdivergence and comprehensive guidance.
It was due to such conditions that people all over the world shared superstitious ideas, inhuman social traditions, myths, social and moral conflicts.
The fire of corruption and perdition was raging. Superstitions and false views ruled people in the name of religion! Paganism and the concept of Trinity had been imposed upon them. Many worships idols, fire, cows and stars. Most shameful of all was the wide spread worship of the sexual organs of men and women. The same moral and spiritual corruption and regression, which spread everywhere, caused dishonesty, darkness, and deviation in Human societies. Bloodshed, murder tyranny and oppression prevailed all over the world. In fact, humanity had been put on the verge of of the abyss of of total destruction. “
Again, a word definition will lead to a greater understanding. Perdition in Christian theology, is state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and unpenitent person passes after death. The synonyms are frightening: eternal punishment; hellfire, spiritual destruction, doom, ruination, condemnation, downfall.
The hidebound dogma of Moses could also be said to be orthodox, diehard, hard-line, ultra-conservative, narrow-minded,, intolerant, intractable, uncompromising,.
You think that was bad?!?! Arabia was even worse. Descriptions of that wretched state of affairs will follow in a subsequent blog. In the meantime you shall hear a little bit about the life I led on Day 14 of Ramadan 2023.
For some strange and unknowable reason I booked a tour of the Alberta Legislative Building, which is right next door, It was to be the second tour of the building. Emailed a cousin
She: I was going to say Happy Easter but remembered you don’t celebrate it. ???? Have a good day & let’s catch up soon.
Me: Okay. I am going for a tour of Great Uncle’s building at this moment. Bye
I arrived, a little early, conversing with other early birds. It was a most convivial group of about twenty people, led my a knowledgable young woman. One couple with two young children were accompanied by an older couple, the woman clad in colorful lovely ethnic clothing, with a headscarf covering her hair. As they could not speak English I spoke to the father of the two young children.
Me: What country are they from?
Me: Really? I met men from Bangladesh when I was in the Middle East, Are they, by any chance, Muslim?
He: Yes, we all are.
Me: I am too. I became a Muslim two and a half years ago.
It is impossible to describe their reaction, it was so touching, so over the moon, ebullient, delighted. They were joyous, particularly the older woman. We chatted after the tour, walking over to the Queen Elizabeth II building together to view the absolutely excellent twelve minute special effect Alberta video. We got to share stories and experiences. It could not be a coincidence that we met. I spoke of my recent Umrah – they had been to Mecca, staying in the exact same hotel recognizing it from the photo taken from my hotel window. They strongly encouraged me to observe the Hajj. I am planning to do so in the future upon achieving more mobility. I spoke of my religious experience in the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque. Their family uncle had been a construction engineer of that magnificent edifice. I learned that Garfield’s dog, when he misbehaved was sent to Abu Dhabi. The father works for the Alberta Government in a building close to my apartment. He and his colleagues often wondered and wished their offices were housed here with its better views. We vowed to stay in touch..
The family was impressed with my ancestor story which I had shared with the entire group.
Me: I have a wonderful story about my connection to this building. My Grandfather’s brother, William Dryburgh, came to Edmonton from Scotland in 1910 to work on the construction of this building – he was a plasterer. Look around you at the work that was done. It is magnificent.
Later, the family and I spoke of the connection I had to the building.
They: We are going to tell people that we were sitting behind a woman whose ancestor constructed the building.
Me: Thank you. I am so proud of his sense of adventure, fortitude and endeavors traveling all this way, so long ago. I am sure he would be so happy that his great niece lives nearby, visits ‘his’ building often and pridefully speaks of him.
I took photos of some of his labour and shall attach one photo to this blog. A blog, to be written in May shall include some biographical information about his interesting life and more of my photography.
Looking back on the events of yesterday it could never be made possible by coincidence or by chance that I met this wonderful family. It had to be fate or destiny – perhaps another word that I cannot think of at the moment. I just now found the synonyms for destiny: it is bound to be there somewhere:providence; predestination; divine decree, God’s will, the stars; fortune, chance. I have made my choice, you make yours.
The entire family were fasting but they adjourned to feed the charming little girls. I dragged my wear self homeward, awaiting sunset. It came, so spectacularly, as you shall see from the photos. W.O.M.A.N. stopped by with a gift at that very moment of its sinking into the west. I exclaimed excitedly, showing her the view.
Me: Look at the sunset. It is SO beautiful. Do not tell your husband he might raise my rent.
She: He won’t but I won’t tell him anyway
Me: Thanks, I never really noticed sunsets before but now I REALLY do. They mean food is on the way and I have an absolutely perfect place to view them. It is impossible to see sunsets and not believe in the Creator. But I guess most people do not see them as they are too busy In the gym.
She: That is me.
Me: I know! I was teasing you. That used to be me as well, in my gym days.
So that sunset ended a perfect day.
The following photos are the one taken of my ancestor’s hard work, the incredible sunset and the four of us on a bench outside the Legislative Building. The little girl’s faces are hidden so it will not invade their precious privacy.