Faithful readers will know that everyone (who is anybody) o is anybody in my life, has a nickname. It is one thing to invade my own privacy by writing this blog, telling all (well almost all) but it is quite another thing to expose those who know me to public scrutiny. Therefore, they receive nicknames – I am having difficulty remembering people’s names plus their nicknames, so I just forget their real names. It works for me – perhaps not for them. But that is their problem.
I have somehow managed to escape nicknames. But one has suddenly emerged – it arrived via an incredibly kind Muslim educator and mother, who has lived, worked and raised her children in Mecca. Her Arabic business card was revealed in a prior blog. She spoke to AK (her son), in Arabic, she does not speak English..
She: How is White Heart Lady?
He: She is doing well. I am going to see her now.
I received news of that conversation in the Riyadh Hilton AmBar. I was moved to the verge of tears to be regarded in such incredibly high esteem by a woman I intensely admire. However, in my usual fashion, it was turned into a joke.
Me: I am so honored to be called that. I shall perhaps make that my nickname.
AK: Really??? How?
Me: I will call myself WHOLE.
He: What does that stand for?
Me: White Heart Old Lady Exceptional?
Me: Well, when you get mad at me just say the E stands for Eccentric.
He: That will work!
I have been called eccentric in my time, especially during these recent years. The November 19, 2019 found me discussing eccentric in this manner. In my usual fashion I am placing quotes around my prior words.
“Anything remotely resembling normal is not occurring in my life. I suppose eccentric might be the best word to describe it – beats out weird, although that is a synonym. Eccentric is unconventional, uncommon, abnormal, irregular, aberrant, anomalous, odd, queer, strange, peculiar, weird, bizarre, off-centre, outlandish, freakish, extraordinary idiosyncratic quirky, singular, nonconformist, capricious, whimsical; French outré, avant garde; way out, far out, offbeat, dotty, nutty, screwy, freaky, oddball, wacky, cranky, off the wall, madcap, zany; British informal rum; North American informal kooky, wacko, bizarro, in left field. ANTONYMS ordinary; conventional.
My personal favorites??
Me: Whimsical, madcap zany, kooky, wacko, and bizarro.
Alter Ego: What about quirky, avant garde, and offbeat.
Me: Good, but not great. I do rather enjoy off the wall.
Gentle readers, the jokes are over, it is now time to become most serious and most reflective, I examined the meaning of ‘white heart’. I do know that it has special meaning in the Islamic faith. Google did not immediately lead me to Islamic truths, instead desiring the white heart emoji (of all things.). “The white heart emoji means pure love for different types of relationships including a parent’s love for their child or the love for a romantic partner. Knowing (and showing the white heart emoji s a simple way for someone to express how special you are to them.”
Not satisfied with the white heart emoji definition I kept going to discover this: in Arabic the heart can be perceived to be white if it’s pure of bad thoughts. More research brought revealed the answer to the question: What type of heart does Allah want from us? “The heart is meant to be open and receptive to the divine guidance, light, and love. However, the hearts of those who do wrong can become hard and harsh. The Quran teaches that God has sent down a beautiful scripture, and those who fear Him tremble when they read it, causing their skin and hearts to soften.” Qur’an 39:23 Consequently, a truly sound heart in the Islamic context means a heart that is purified from all forms of impurity that draw one away from Allah.”
Not thoroughly satisfied, strove further for meaning. This from the Arab News: from October 8, 2015.
Allah says: “But only he (will prosper) who brings to Allah a sound heart.” (Qur’an, 26:89) The Qur’anic concept of a “sound heart” is not the pureness of heart that some people understand it to be, for the Qur’an defines a sound heart as turning to and submitting fully to Allah.
The way to avoid eternal suffering in Hell, the way to attain the approval and mercy of Allah, lies not in being known as just a “good person,” but in being a true believer in the manner described in the Qur’an.As stated at the outset, there can be no question of someone who fails to fully submit to our Almighty Lord and to abide by the requirements of Islamic moral values having “purity of heart.”
Those who live by the logic of “my heart is pure, and hence there is no need for me to completely adhere to the requirements of religious moral values” is an act of self-deception instead of making others fool. This also shows one’s ignorance of the Islamic teachings and living in a mistaken belief that he is a true Muslim. Such attitudes can never be acceptable. We are told in one verse from the Qur’an that “Allah knows what your hearts contain.” (Qur’an, 3:119) Islamic moral values bestows freedom from worldly values and all forms of dependence felt toward other people. A believer with such moral values seeks the approval of Allah, not that of other people. He fears Allah alone and knows that all things are under His control. Fear leads him to scrupulously adhere to the bounds set by Allah and silences all excuses proffered by worldly desires. Being awestruck by the Divine commandments and making sincere efforts to attain His approval are the bases of the moral values.”
The entire article on the Purity of the Heart and Moral Values may be found at https://www.arabnews.com/islam-perspective/news/817556#
The writer, Darun Yahya. has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science.
The Arab News is becoming increasingly useful, beginning with the blog on the dangers of baboons. Next was yesterday, with news of a possible Palestinian solution and now this. It brings joy knowing I am relocating to Saudi Arabia, as the newspaper founded in 1975 is a Saudi publication with offices in Riyadh, published in Jeddah. The embarrassment of riches continues with this Opinion piece written by Dr. Majiig Rafizadeh, a leading scholar. He wrote of the prosperity, peace and happiness of Saudis in the Arab News, praising Vision 2030.
“Vision 2030 is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive plans introduced in the modern Middle East.This is due to the fact that it encompasses not only economic but also environmental, social and religious landscapes, along with political reforms. As Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pointed out in his 2016 foreword: “We intend to provide better opportunities for partnerships with the private sector through the three pillars: Our position as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, our leading investment capabilities, and our strategic geographical position. We will improve the business environment, so that our economy grows and flourishes, driving healthier employment opportunities for citizens and long-term prosperity for all. This promise is built on cooperation and on mutual responsibility.”
The reasons for such optimism articulated in the following manner:
“he Kingdom has taken several steps in its implementation of Vision 2030 that have already proven to be effective and successful. For example, due to the impact of its economic reforms — including enhancing the business environment, attracting foreign investments, privatization, creating private sector jobs, and increasing digitalization — a report by the International Monetary Fund stated last year that Saudi Arabia is likely to be “one of the world’s fastest-growing economies this year.” Other factors include the level of social support, women’s participation in the workforce, the quality of the healthcare system and a healthy life expectancy. In Saudi Arabia, concerning the healthcare system and women, the accomplishments achieved so far include Saudi Arabia’s healthcare system benefiting “from substantive investment and increased digitization … 90-plus percent of patients received emergency or urgent care within four hours of arrival … Saudi Arabia scored 80/100 in the 2022 World Bank Women, Business and Law Report, up 10 points from 2020 … Saudi female labor participation increased from 19.4 percent to 35.6 percent between 2016 and 2021 … Saudi Arabia has organized over 3,800 entertainment events attended by 80-plus million people … Launched in 2020, the SEHA virtual hospital is the largest in the world, utilizing the latest technologies to support vital health facilities linked to 130 hospitals and provide three specialized services.”
I am leaving Canada, their health care system is woeful. The health care system in Canada can be accurately described by these synonyms of woeful; awful, atrocious, disgraceful, deplorable, shameful, hopeless, lamentable, substandard, poor, inadequate, inferior, unsatisfactory, pathetic, pitiful, useless, lousy, abysmal, dire, the pits.
Alberta’s health care excess that of other provinces but even in that affluent province there are not enough doctors, total nonrecognition of nurse practitioners, physiotherapists and other professions necessary for comprehensive health care. Research into women’s health issues are inadequately funded. Instead limited resources are spent on operations costing ten thousand dollars – a surgeon is paid to remove men’s penises providing them with them useless cavities, allowing for transportation costs and rehab services. How do I know about this? A person living in my Edmonton apartment building told me of this expenditure on he/she’s behalf. I could not believe it, but it is unfortunately all too true. The health system must be totally reworked. There’s no reason that fully qualified doctors from other countries are not recognized, forced to complete unnecessary training programs to prove themselves. I once thought I could force some reforms. Who was a trying to kid? I am only one person and I am old. There is not even the vision of a virtual hospital, much less its implementation.
As to women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, I have met tens of professional women, doctors, lawyers, radiologists, administrators, university professors. Viewed countless business meetings during my stay in Saudi Arabia – women are there sitting in positions of power. Two years ago there we no upper management women in major hotels. Now there are many, preforming with ease and efficiency, gaining the respect of their colleagues and tourists.
I am grateful to Arab News for bringing me such information – from baboons to white hearts to Vision 2030. I must obtain written documentation of the provisions of Vision 2030. Not today as I am packing for the flight to Canada, which inconveniently leaves Riyadh at 0400 hours. So Bye Guys.
Photos of some highlights of the most amazing adventure of my life. Explanations will be provided by blogs written from Edmonton. The experiences in Saudi Arabia have been nothing less than amazing.