The Year that was

January 2, 2009

What a wonderful and challenging year it was. It was a year of travel, physical and spiritual. In business it was a year of transformation and dogged determination. Grateful I am to the Almighty, that the family was a source of joy and strength.

The eshams, I meant ALL eshams spent the year in the home country. They did their travels but mostly for short stints. Almost all celebrations were fully attended. The younger ones had this wonderful privileges of being pampered and bullied by the big sisters and the big brother. The older ones in return had the joy of becoming responsible big brother and big sisters. They had been wonderful.

We had two new members of the family. Georgia Chapman was with us to be part of the family. Aiman in return, became the little ambassador to the Chapmans in Melbourne. What a wonderful job these two eleven year olds have done to strengthen and cement the ties and relationship between people of two far away lands. They put many elders and politicians to shame.

We adopted coco but not for long. He could not get along with the boys. Combined that with the heaps of poos, I had to clear, cut short the good intent. The children still missed him.

My frequent flyer was upgraded. I went to places I have never been. Yangoon was exotic. I rediscoverd ole amsterdam enroute to Munich. I had a taste of real Arabian hospitality. I did the journey to see His signs. I was the dew that managed to become part of the brook.

I had to travel to ole England three times in a year, to salvage a ground zero situation. in the end, It was relationship and trust that saved the day.

At work, relationships were put to the most severe of tests. My transformation agenda, many thought was impossible. They forgot that the tiger has been polite and kind. He may be wounded but he is still the king of the jungle. There were many I trusted that abandoned ship but I took it in my stride. The skipper may be wetting the pants, but no he will not let go the wheels to steer the fleet off the fierce tempest.

I learned something. Talents are every where. Reach out and leave the Zone.

There were those who were not honest and trustworthy. To all these people, thank you for leaving. To those who were genuinely affected and could not wither the storm., I thank you and I am sorry. To those who stayed back to become my deck hands I am grateful and will not forget you.

One after another the ship set sail, its sails raised in full glory. To the young skippers this is your day. Leave the comfort of the anchorage and discover the new world. Bring back the bounty.

It was again a double new year. On the day of Higra, my brother and I finally settled the unsettling issues of our inheritance. Mother must be pleased and relieved. I thank you almighty God.


Eid ul Adha

December 8, 2008

To those who have just completed their Hajj, this is the day for rejoicing. Celebrate. Time to feast. Slaughter the four legged domesticated cattle and share that with the needy and the poor.

I am avoiding the word sacrifice or offering, as I believe that this simple instruction by God to share and and to be responsible for the poor and needy has been spinned to allow the masses to be exploited by oppressors.

On this joyous occasion let us glorify God. Let us glorify and be thankful by for His mercy by being and sharing with the masses.

The important message is the communal spirit, the need for the haves to help the have nots, the breaking of the barriers and to celebrate by sharing. In His eyes it is your righteousness that matters.

Now that you are no longer shepherds and your wealth are no longer measured in the number of sheep and cattle, why not allocate a fraction of your wealth to the communal cause.


The Higra on a bus

September 28, 2008

I have seen the desert that separate Marrakech and the Atlas mountain, but this is nothing like it. There were the sand dunes, the rocky treacherous dunes hills and mountains.

I never expected it to look that treacherous, even the sight of it from the comfort of the airconditioned German recon coach was frightening.

Imagine an escape on camels in the heat.

The bus ride took 6 hours door to door. The camel caravan i understand takes over a month for the 400 km distance.

Had it been winter, it would be less challenging.

And what about the trip from Palestine to the mother of all cities? The trip by the aging patriach with a fully laden second lady to escape the nagging of the matriach.


Farewell, till I come again, Insyaallah

September 24, 2008

I could feel the calling, the desire to complete and fulfill the convenant. That was the intent, that this visit was intended to be a precursor to and in preparation of the Hajj. I will come back, by your grace Insyallah.

I did the farewell tawaf after dawn prayers.

It was cooling. There was quite a sizeable crowd. Deep inside the strong desire to come back was well entrenched. I prayed that it would be made easy.

I have done almost three quarters of the Book. As we passed the gate of Haram, I switched on the hand phone. That ended my self imposed exile from worldly matters.

We headed towards Madina, doing the Higra, but this time in the comfort of an airconditioned coach.


Iktikaf in the Sanctuary

September 23, 2008

I spent my time reading the Message, the Book of Wisdom.

O Lord, give me hidayah. Guide me, Make it simple, O Lord, as you have promised.

There is no one but Thee, the Wakil.
I took thy mercy, the shade, for granted.
The greatness of thy creation, the shadows.

The pairing of thy creations. Darkness and light, blindness and sight, wisdom and ignorance.
Love and lust.

I am but the lowly Nuftah. I have been enslaved by the nuftah. There have been zulaikhas and cows I have succumbed to.

I saw the unbended knee. Will I be the Shin? I, the procrastinator and the egoistic slave of the nuftah.


Masjidil Haram – The Sanctuary

September 22, 2008

It is a place where God has promised everyone peace and equality. The only distinction between men and women is his or her taqwa.

It was pleasing to see the space and freedom of movement that women enjoy in this temple of God. Perhaps this is THE place where women are treated most equally in the context of the Muslim practice of male dominance. Women have their designated area during the obligatory prayers but beyond that the mingling of men and women were unrestricted, orderly and civil.

The perfect place to do Iktikaf, in the company of men, women, jin and angels.


The Search between Safa and Marwah

September 20, 2008

It was a frantic search.
O Lord, protect my child. Have mercy on us My Lord. I visualised Hagar the Ethiopian slave mother of Ishmael.

I remembered the mothers of my children.

O lord have mercy on them. Grant them children pleasing to their eyes and hearts.

I remembered my mother. I felt the closeness and intimacy of her unconditional love.

Give her comfort and dignity my Lord in her remaining years. Grant me your mercy and your bounty my Lord, for me to please her.

I remembered all my children.

Here I am my Lord, begging you to grant mercy on all my children. Protect them my Lord from musibah. Make them pleasing to my eyes and my heart. Make them Imam of the muttaqqon O My Lord.

I remembered the little guy who craved for zam zam.

O Lord have mercy on him.

Again I poured it out, sweat, tears and emotion. I did not stop, feeling desperate, as if in a trance doing the frantic search. Running, jogging, searching.

At the end of the sae, there was the zam-zam, your sign and symbol O Lord. It was the most fulfilling zam-zam. I thank Thee, glory to you Lord.