Chris and I decided that the banner title should be Quest for Life and there it is. But what now, what is going to replace it? My story-telling talents need a topic.
Perhaps turn to mundane matters, such as my daily habits. Every morning I make a list of things to be done during the day, then dutifully cross the tasks off when completed. The first item is always achievable: 1. Make list. Then comes 2. Prayer times. (An app on my iPad informs me of Edmonton prayer times, these are set on my iPhone to chime.) I would prefer the call to prayer found in Saudi Arabia but I am not there yet. One of my intentions today 13. Think of blog topic. You shall be happy to know that I was able to cross if off.
I was thinking of the world wide explosion in the number of those embracing the Islamic Faith. My next thought was of the deleterious effect of what Khaled About El Fadl has called the Purist Muslims, this mentioned in the previous blog. What did I do about it? Used Google and found “When Happiness Fails: An Islamic Perspective,” Journal of Law and Religion 29, The Internet seems almost like magic at times. There was the Abstract (a detailed summary of the paper to be presented.
“In this article, I set forth conceptions of happiness (sa‘ada) from the Islamic tradition, and against this background, I discuss the failure to attain happiness in the modern age. The cumulative Islamic tradition attests to the importance of happiness to faith in God, and to the importance of faith to happiness. While the themes of knowledge, enlightenment, balance, peace, and knowing the other are central to the Islamic theology of happiness, the failure of happiness is embodied by the idea of jahiliyya (a state of ignorance). I argue that a crucial issue in considering happiness and the failure of happiness is how one understands submission to God, and that submission to God is not simply obedience or servitude to God; rather, submission to God means aspiring to and seeking the goodness of God, and liberating one’s soul and being from a state of godlessness, or ignorance (jahiliyya), in order to attain a state of Godliness. To grow into and with God’s love is the epitome of fulfillment, goodness, and happiness. However, when submission becomes a formulaic relationship based on generalized stereotypes about history, societies, and people, or on a stereotyped understanding of one’s self dealing with a stereotypical understanding of an omnipotent but inaccessible God, unhappiness becomes the norm. Drawing on this analysis, I argue that in the modern age, the modalities of thought in puritanical movements have had a consistently demoralizing and dehumanizing effect that persistently undermines the possibilities for social and moral happiness, and thus, undermines the very purpose of the Islamic faith.”
El Fadl went on further – distinguishing between the alleviation of harm and suffering from happiness. They are two separate constructs, he maintains. However, just when I getting interested in hearing more – found that only the Abstract was available. In order to have access in its entirety I would have to ask my institutional librarian to get it for me. I do not have an institution. The other alternative was to go through a complex procedure to become a member, then pay $26.
The whole process became just too burdensome and oppressive, so gave it up but continued on a search finding an Arab News article. That Arab News has become the source of so much information on a multiple range of topics – baboons, the Mecca Al Borgandi place, a diplomat’s insights into KSA and Palestine. Now this, written by Aisha Stacey appearing in the March 29, 2013 edition.
“To find true happiness we must seek to know God, especially through His names and attributes. Seeking beneficial knowledge brings happiness. The angels flutter their wings and keep records of those who seek knowledge; the mere thought of this brings a smile of happiness to the face of a believer.”
This quote brought a smile of happiness to my face as it mirrored a recent event. I left a precious book at a restaurant located in Spruce Grove, some distance from Edmonton. The precious book was a gift from Mr. Ali of the Mecca Oberlio Hotel – a beautifully illustrated The Names of Allah. It is an incentive to worship – reading the names, contemplating their meaning as they apply to Allah (SWT), people you may know, and then yourself. It is a most instructive guide.
Spoke with Manjinder as I had decided it would be a good day to fetch it. He reminded me that I had been planning to visit my mother’s grave on the way there.
He: No worries. Also we will visit your mother’s grave.
Me: Thanks. Forgot about that, my mother’s grave. I am a bad girl.
He: No, you are the best.
Me: Nope, Better maybe but not best. Hahaha
Off we went, stopping to get flowers at Save-On. I spoke to an elderly woman
Me: I am here to get flowers for my mother’s grave but just need one or two.
She: Why not get a mixed bouquet? You you can use one or two and then you will have the rest for your own use.
Me: That is a brilliant idea. I will get the one with a purple calla lily, as it is my favorite flower and it is long lasting.
Upon reaching the cemetery where I met and spoke at length to a most inspiring young man – his father, an Egyptian, was a Muslim. He was leading a rather ordinary life when his mother died. He felt a void, so desolate that he decided to turn his life around – began working at this beautiful, vast well maintained Funeral Home and Cemetery. He found meaning, it did turn his life around. The three of us got in the golf cart and off we went in search of my mother. . Well – sometimes things do not happen they way you planned them. We could not find her. Her niche (she was cremated) was under construction. Finally we located her niche, behind plastic with wet concrete surrounding it. Could not even get close to it. But, wonder of all wonders, could see that there were fresh flowers placed at her sight.
Me: I am so relieved!! Someone is remembering her. It is not my sole responsibility. I am going away and could not do it.
He: You see why I find meaning in this job!
Me: Yes I do. I shall come back and visit.
He: Good!!! I like your attitude
Me: I love yours!
The precious book was retrieved. The flowers were in water. I suddenly was inspired. Used my dormant flower arranging abilities, a container purchased at Alberta Craft Gallery just up the street. Took the photo of the arrangement when going for a final visit before going to Saudi Arabia. Bought a replacement change purse – so funny. Her name is Carole I wore my quilted coat of many colors, carried the quilted bag my mother made. The director took a photo alongside a lovely piece of furniture. All photos will be featured.
Here is the unbelievable part. This morning, randomly opened the book to find these names.
Al-Wakeel, Al-Kafeel. The Disposer of Affairs, the Guarantor. Imperfectly the page is attached as a photo. It basically says that Allah (SWT) provides for all his Creatures by granting their requests and granting their needs, guiding to all that is easy and free of hardships. The Guardian and the Protector.
It did all come together. It did seem there were hardships during the day but it did all become easy and free of hardships.