A Day in the Life of the Oberio Hotel Refugee Camp: Discovering Bahrain in the Best Way, A Gift From a Bahrain Muslim Woman; 300 Signs to Recognize Your God; Sign 92; This is the Religion for Me; Another Gift From Another Fatima; A Muslim Rosary: Photographs of Book, the Religious Abacas, Letter Not Written by Muhammed (PBUH) 

Of course I laugh as I write this title but did decide that this would be the hot topic of the day. I need a refugee camp as Canada, is my home country.  I am a single old Muslim woman and would not be safe as Islamophobia is rampant, Muslims are attacked in mosques, places of employment and on the streets.  Canada has aligned itself with the United States, supporting the oppressing aggressing Israel.  

Aggress means attack or behave aggressively towards; initiate a conflict with. Israel started it all, all you poor souls ignorant of the basic facts of history and life. This ignorance extends to the government of my home and native land. 

But enough of that, I was safely here on October 7, that momentous day. I am still here knowing that it is the next best thing to Jannah, I am convinced. Each and every day there are interesting people to meet, other guests, staff members. An absolute wealth of humanity. These folks fascinate, they serve to open the doors to new knowledge. 

The other day there was activity and confusion down the hall. Went to investigate learning that a large contingency of peoples were arriving. 

Me: Where are these people from? 

Staff Member: Bahrain 

Me: I do not even know where that is. Never heard of it before. 

Yesterday, a totally covered woman emerged from the elevator and in perfect English said:

She: Here is a gift for you. A book you might find helpful

Me: Oh my goodness thank you. I shall treasure it.

We then exchanged the ‘where are your from’ dialogue. 

She: Bahrain 

For those of you with limited attention spans, this is the fast and dirty. Bahrain is a country in western Asia that consists of a group of islands in the Persian Gulf; population 1,400,000 (estimated 2015); capital, Manama; official language, Arabic. Ruled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and the Persians in the 17th century, Bahrain became a British protectorate in 1861 and gained independence in 1971. Its economy is dependent on the refining and export of oil.

To those of you with more expansive attention spans (and nothing better to do with your time) there is a vast, (and I do mean vast) Wikipedia entry. Read quickly; took a speed reading course in 1981, comes in handy at times like this. The History section fascinating, containing an entry Arrival of Islam. Muhammed, during his lifetime, had an interaction with the country. Here is a facsimile of a letter sent by Muhammad to Muzir Ign-Sawa al Ramini, governor of Bahrain in AD  628.  It shall be included at the conclusion of the blog (with any luck at all). 

I would never, in a million years, ever be reading of this country if I were not residing in this elite refugee camp. I, a curious, educated woman, have studied European history but, never even suspected the wealth of history in the Middle East. No idea whatsoever. 

Alter Ego: No idea at all, no idea whatsoever? 

Me: Proof, you want proof? Two days ago commented that I had never heard of Bahrain, even though it is an island nation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both are countries I now know a great deal,  I shall now speak of the gifted book. 

300 Signs to Recognize Your God was written by Dr. Zaahoor Ali Sheikh He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Al Mareefa University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He has written two other Islamic books as well as medical books for students and professors. 

The Preface was written in October of 2022.  

The aim of the book is to recognize Allah Almighty through His signs  His signs are so clear as we are seeing the sunlight, we are seeing the sky, we are seeing ourselves alive. 

“Allah Almighty says that you can not see God during this life, but you will see Me in the hereafter. During this life you have to recognize God through his signs, for example, creation of human being, animals, birds, life in sea, oxygen available, water freely available for billions of people, sun, moon, stars, sky, galaxies, mountains, hills, creation of different types of creatures, prophets, holy books sent. 

This book will give your details of 300 signs with references to the Holy Quran (Word of God). You will see these signs so clearly that no one can deny. “ 

He continues eloquently concluding..

Finally I will ask every human being to read and to understand the Holy Quran (Word of God) to have more knowledge, more wisdom, more faith, more belief in one God, the creator of the Universe. 

I opened the book, randomly landing on Sign 92 which I shall quote.

“Please think how we have come in this world. We have remained in the wombs of our mothers for nine months and ten days, growing there in a closed cavity, without breathing for 280 days while our organs were developing, like brain, heart, lungs, kidney, liver, bones, muscles, skin, eyes, ears, tongue, lips, systems of digestion and excretion. Think how these miracles take place? Is it possible? Definitely not! Then who has the power and scientific knowledge working for Him? Who has made the shape of human and given him brain to think, eyes to see, ears to hear., the only answer will be Allah Almighty. Then we we do not obey, pray and thank Him. 

Holy Quran 11:78 

And Allah has extracted you from the womb of your mothers and knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.” 

That is so inspirational. Think about it now we will talk about it later.

That is  a phrase that means: people  will consider their options concerning something and make a decision later. It’s usually a sign that there will be a discussion of some sort, about a certain matter or situation, and it will be conducted not at that exact moment but in a unspecified time frame.

At this moment we shall speak of another gift I received from another Muslim woman. It is amazing as well. I saw a young man at the breakfast buffet wearing a sweat shirt that had NEW YORK, in huge lettering. This is (more or less) the conversation that ensued. 

Me: I am not sure why you are wearing a sweat shirt that says New York. That is advertising the city which has sent millions, if not billions of dollars to Israel to bomb Palestinians. 

He: I did not mean to do that. If it helps I bought this in New Zealand. 

Me: (laughing) Well that does help. I admit to paying US income taxes, done so for years. I am more complicit than you. So you are forgiven. 

So we did the ‘where are you from’ discussion. 

He: I live in Jeddah. 

Me: I have been in Jeddah and just love it! Reels all over Instagram and photos in my blog. 

He introduced me to his family. His grandmother’s name is Fatima. That is my Muslim name, We gave each other a huge Fatima hug, laughing in delight. She did not speak English, her grandson translated. 

Yesterday the grandson was again at the Breakfast Buffet.  

Me: Look at you!! Wearing a thobe. So much more attractive. 

He: (laughing) I did listen! Just trying to please you. 

Me: You did. 

Later saw he and his grandmother sitting in the lobby of my refugee camp. They motioned to come and speak to them, which I did. We had a loving, laughing conversation. The grandmother was lovingly fingering her ‘Muslim rosary’. 

Me: I recently learned how and why Muslims use their ‘rosaries’. It is a soothing tradition. I have begun worshipping in this fashion. 

Fatima gave me her ‘Muslim rosary’ telling me to think of her, and pray for her when I used it. 

As Fatima and her grandson parted I hesitantly asked a question. 

Me: Please ask your grandmother how old she is. 

He did and she showed me with her fingers. 

Me: Hahaha! I am older. You are my little sister Fatima 

We all laughed. 

The May 10, 2006 Arab News wrote about Te Art And History Of The Muslim Rosary 

PRAYER beads, or masbaha, are more than something to keep idle hands busy or to dangle from the rear-view mirrors of cars, they are used as a tool by which Muslims perform the dhikr, or pronouncements in remembrance of Allah as instructed by the Holy Qur’an.

Essentially, the rope of prayer beads is a kind of abacus used to help memorize verses from the Qur’an or more commonly to keep track of the recitation of the 99 names of God. During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims’ intimacy with their prayer beads gets closer.  Masbaha can be simple — with beads made from cheap plastic — or they can be decorative and pricey, with beads made from decorative ceramics, hardwoods, precious stones, or the bones of rare animals, such as the rhinoceros. The string that holds the beads together can be made of cotton, silk or simple nylon. (In the age of machinery, some Muslims have been known to forego the masbaha altogether and use button-operated metal counters.)….ending “It seems that the tradition of the religious abacus isn’t fading away like so many other cultural aspect of “Old Arabia”; youths can be seen decorating their souped-up sports cars with the masbaha. Instead of fuzzy dice or air fresheners, they decorate their rear-view mirrors with a rosary. And considering the way some Saudi youths drive, it’s probably a good idea to have a prayer aid within reach of the steering wheel!”

Definitely was a Red-Letter Day: an idiom marking a special or memorable day; the expression refers to the old custom of printing holidays in red on calendars. You shall now be the recipient of too much information (tmi)  The term “Red Letter Day” goes back to 325 AD when the First Council of Nicaea decreed that great feasts be marked in red on the calendar. Pentecost is quite literally a Red Letter Day since its liturgical color is red, to match the fire that came down on the apostles fifty days after the Resurrection remade the world. 

Pictured will be my gifts received on my Red-Letter day, the book and the ‘religious abacas.” Also, the facsimile of the letter written by Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). Except he did not write it. 

Alter Ego How do you know he did not write it?

Me: Every Muslim knows that the Prophet (PBUH) could not read or write.