An expression came to me during Fajr prayer. Fajr prayer, for me, is the most important prayer. It gives me direction for the day. It is impossible to explain – it somehow provides a map of what I should do. During the day I follow the path and I have peace of mind. Perhaps others have this experience, I shall ask around.
The clues come in different forms, different templates. Often expressions come to mind, then I reflect upon the meaning, often going to the Internet to find the meaning and origin of the phrase, often an idiom. This Friday morning the expression ‘of no concern’ arrived unbidden.
First let us look at unbidden. Its meaning: • (especially of a thought or feeling) arising without conscious effort. The synonyms provide clarification: spontaneous, unprompted, unforced, uncompelled, unplanned, unpremeditated, spur-of-the-moment; off-the-cuff.
Spontaneously, unpremeditated, and spur-of-the moment the thought ‘no concern’ came to mind. Expanded the search to ‘of little or no concern.’ This is what I found. Whatever one is thinking about is be not important or worth paying attention to. No worries is another way to say it. Provided were other ways of saying it that were most instructive and helpful. 1. Don’t worry about it 2. There’s no need to worry. 3. It’s no trouble at all. 4.Don’t fret about it. 5.It’s no issue. 6.That’s perfectly fine.
One site provided examples of ‘professional’ ways of interacting, using emails. One said: I don’t mind helping you however I can. Let me know what you’d like me to do. Another email: I have no issues with helping you complete this. I’m just glad you decided to come to me first. A third: You can count on me. I know we haven’t done a lot together, but I’m glad you chose me to work on this project with you. Another: I can help you with this task, as it’s not that difficult for me. Let me know what you’d like me to work on. Then this: I have no issues with helping you complete this. I’m just glad you decided to come to me first. The final suggestion: Of course! Is there anything specific you’d like me to work on? Or are you happy for me to do my own thing? But then another caught my eye: It’s not an issue. Is there anything else you’d like me to do before we move to the next stage?
It is difficult to explain but all of these examples were so helpful. The day was planned with ease, in a manner not foreseen. I could get on with my day, and my life, with assistance. It was God given. An amusing interchange with a man who has been a Muslim since birth. I told him something surprising.
Me: Dear, we call him Allah (SWT)
He: Allah (SWT) with emoji of hands in prayer
Me: So it would be OMA
He: OH MY ALLAH I LOVE IT
Me: Prayers are over. I am going to Kyoto for beer and help.
He: Please enjoy your dinner and beer.
Me: No dinner. Left over pizza from Chuck E. Cheese.
Something rather surprising happened next. Went to the Kyoto for a beer (non alcoholic of course) and a snack. Faithful readers will know that a resume was submitted speaking of the many duties I could perform at this esteemed 5 star hotel. One was a “lay taster of new items to be added to the menu” I entered the Kyoto, to find the Executive Chef sitting on my stool. We are buddies. I joined him. He was tasting a new item to be added to the menu – a beef dish. He invited me to join him in the tasting. I did, and made contributions, valuable ones appreciated by the chefs.
It seemed so unusual, to be speaking of my talents and abilities on the blog and then be able to use them. The Executive Chef and I had a great conversation. He and I both lived the American Dream, to its fullest. It brought neither of us happiness.
Me: The American Dream, for me, was a prison.
He: For me too.
Me: I think for almost all people.
He is a born Muslim – travelled in lived in many places throughout his extremely successful career. We enjoy talking to one another.
Another reason why I love my Oberlio Refugee Camp. It is not free, not even cheap but it is the place I am meant to be at this moment – this I absolutely know.
I must keep my commitments. Last week I promised to speak of my ‘make shift’ Friday prayer. The Believer begins prayer, then listens to a ‘sermon’ offered by the Imam.
This is the substitute ‘sermon’ usually provided by the Imam (which for some reason is always a male, except in China and Copenhagen (more about that later). This ‘sermon’ is found in John Renard’s Ph.D. The Handy Islamic Answer Book.
The title of this article is How do classic Islamic sources describe what it means to be “authentically human’?
Over a thousand years ago Abu Said Al Kharraz (d.c. 900) wrote the book Book of Authenticity, one of the earthliest works of Islamic pedagogy. Structured around the literary conceit of a dialogue in which the author puts questions to an anonymous teacher , the work explores a series of ‘stations’ and states that make the seeker’s progress along the path of spiritual meaning. The “teacher’ describes for his pupil the how one can identity the authentic experience of, for example penitence, asceticism, trust in God and longing for God. Kharraz seems to be using the key term sidq (authenticity) in two slightly different wats. First learning how to discern authenticity in one ’s inner experience is the overall purpose of the dialogue. Second, Kharraz introduces the topic , explaining that there are three principles with which to identify authenticity: These three hallmarks are sincerity (ikhlas), patience (saber), the virtue so central to the story of Joseph ,and veracity or truthfulness (sidq).
Let us first consider this. The book of authenticity was written over a thousand years ago, but the question is achingly and amazingly relevant to today. It is necessary to explore the meaning of pedagogy.
Again, it is Wikipedia to the rescue.
Pedagogy (/ˈpɛdəɡɒdʒi, -ɡoʊdʒi, -ɡɒɡi/), from Ancient Greek παιδαγωγία (paidagōgía), most commonly understood as the approach to teaching, is the theory and practice of learning, and how this process influences, and is influenced by, the social, political and psychological development of learners. Pedagogy, taken as an academic discipline, is the study of how knowledge and skills are imparted in an educational context, and it considers the interactions that take place during learning. Both the theory and practice of pedagogy vary greatly as they reflect different social, political, and cultural contexts.
Pedagogy is often described as the act of teaching. The pedagogy adopted by teachers shapes their actions, judgments, and teaching strategies by taking into consideration theories of learning, understandings of students and their needs, and the backgrounds and interests of individual students. Its aims may range from furthering liberal education (the general development of human potential) to the narrower specifics of vocational education (the imparting and acquisition of specific skills). Conventional western pedagogies view the teacher as knowledge holder and student as the recipient of knowledge (described by Paulo Freire as “banking methods”), but theories of pedagogy increasingly identify the student as an agent and the teacher as a facilitator.
Instructive strategies are governed by the pupil’s background knowledge and experience, situation and environment, as well as learning goals set by the student and teacher. One example would be the Socratic method.
In true Wikipedia fashion it goes on and on and on, examining its role in different times, in different countries, in different faiths. However, there is no mention of the Islamic Faith. I could contribute, perhaps I shall. Talk about the Book of Authenticity.
We shall return to the ‘sermon’ next Friday. There is so much more there to think about, so much to learn.
Back to the conversation that began this blog, the omg one. We were talking about the Chuck E. Cheese pizza.
Me: I was there yesterday. I did a video.
He: I have got to go and see it now. Just a moment please.
Me: It is not posted anywhere yet. I will see if I can send it.
I did send one to him.
He: Amazing. Amazing Amazing So beautiful.
Me: Oops I sent you the date farm one. It is better than the Chuck E. Cheese one.
I then sent A Chuck E. Cheese in Madinah.
Me: Thank you. It was fun.
Our conversation went on with much laughter.
Me: I am falling off the bed, laughing at my own jokes.
He: I am dying laughing.
Me: Are you still there or in Jannah? If you are dead from laughing. But what a way to go?!
I have not received a response. Hmmmmm
I will now comment upon the attached reels. I am being a tourist, seeing Medinah. Getting some things done but also touring the blessed sights of the Prophet (PBUH). Not Check E. Cheese, do not think it was there then. Check E. Cheese has been around in the USA a long time. There was one in a nearby strip mall in San Rafael, California about forty years ago.
One reel from the Date Farm. With more about my Medina tourism on a subsequent blog.