It may be that we are able to divide people into two sorts: those seeking comfort and those seeking truth. A person needs to understand some basic things in this regard, the most essential of which is that comfort cannot be found by searching for it. Looking for comfort is really wishful thinking. The idea of searching for and finding comfort is wishful thinking and the action of searching for comfort is wishful thinking. If a person looks for truth, it may well elude him, yet it can be found, just he has yet to find it so it is not wishful thinking. Furthermore, if found truth can bring comfort. And even though truth may not be found and may not if found bring comfort, it is the only journey that has the chance of ending in something other than despair. That the search for truth carries with it no guarantee of success should not distract or deter us; it is laziness and egotism that we only do things upon a guarantee. Indeed it is due to this that people turn to wishful thinking, all reward and no consequences; but reality bites: seeking comfort is wishful thinking, and wishful thinking ends in only one guarantee, a guarantee that is not sought, the guarantee of desolation.
Opinion Pieces and Thoughts
My family who love me, at least they say they do (and I simply must believe them in order to go on at all), have yet to notice how I am slowly disappearing from their lives. Their lives mind, not their memories or thoughts of me. On the practical day-to-day stuff, I am becoming less visible, less intrinsic, so very unnecessary. They are getting on and doing just fine without me. It is as if I am like that loose thread on a coat button: you see me there still holding the button on, but barely. You know you should give me some attention, but as I am still holding the button on for now, well, the button is still on, so no need for now! One day when you try and do your coat up you find only the remnants of the thread, no button, and the coat whilst not useless is one button less efficient. You knew it would happen but you took it for granted, forgot about it in the hum drum days and you didn’t notice what you’d lost until you needed it again. But even then, you may think, it is easily replaceable. I am thread bare. My use is temporary and will soon be forgotten. After my sperm and a few quid, I haven’t been much use, so not so much merely replaceable as entirely expendable… except in principle! No one really wants to grow up without a dad, or wants to have to bring up kids without a partner. But that’s for psychological appearances – in my case it shouldn’t in reality make a difference exactly because I have never made a difference. And that is something. It is a kind of achievement. It is a sort of success, isn’t it?
Below is a response to an email circulated by a Muslim sister who was appealing, on behalf of Mr. Craig Murray for Muslims to support the publishing of his account ‘Murder in Samarkand’ back in 2006. Mr. Murray had expressed his disappointment, dismay even, that Muslims were not supporting his publication by purchasing the book and vocally supporting his publicising efforts et al.MORE +
The series of short reflections I shall be publishing are from a book I was trying to write. They are at times a little unpolished, but were meant to be spurs for reflection by Muslims daily in addition to the expected time spent with the Qur’an, never a replacement for it. There were to be at least 365 to form a ‘day book.’
Further I was going to organise them seasonally and thought about a thematic index for additional referencing. The book would be preceded by a short piece on ‘Reflection’ which I will publish here also insha Allah. Nothing will be published in its original order except this preface.
The project didn’t get far so rather than waste the work done I have decided to publish them here for my small and select readers.
I ask Allah to benefit us all by them.
It is as if I can see where my soul will end up when I die: like looking at the sea and trying to count the waves, never ending and futile. No matter how I try, the end looms over me like one of those impending crashing waves. It is not a formless swallowing darkness sucking your marrow to non-functioning weakness, but it is the enormity and inevitability of that sea holding you entranced, a deer in the headlights of your own destiny, that is what drowns you. That is where my soul will lie.
I am my father’s son
I try to be a man’s man
Tough when I can
Provide for my family
I don’t turn and run
Whatever the reason, the excuse
He started afresh somewhere else with someone else
With other people
But not with me
How can I be my father’s son?
I am my mother’s son
I try to be an empathetic man
As gentle as I can
I confuse anger and love
But I will not back down
She took another
She had taken him long before now
It is why my father left it is said
It was the process of my mother leaving
Cutting the maternal bonds
That weighed and weighs like rusty anchors dragging
She brought that lover home
He slept in my father’s bed
He slept in my father’s room
He slept in my father’s house
But he was not father to anyone
He with my mother left
How can I be my mother’s son
I am my father’s son
I am my mother’s son
They told me they loved me, they told me they didn’t like me
A child should not be divided like that
Dislike will scar the man
Make the man
Negate the man
I am the son
And I have come home
Less than one.
‘I write in order to peruse myself.’
– Henri Michaux
‘I write in order to pursue myself!’
When I write it comes from nowhere and ends up solid. Inscribed and fixed on paper, on a digital page. Words fill space, yet are composed of shaped space.
The letters emerge and words form and ideas coalesce. Appointments can be kept and essential items remembered at supermarkets.
It is a strange magic, digestible, transferable, they are mine alone to be shared for any who see them, so they are my part of a shared inheritance; they are my words, they can convict me, they can get me fired, they did get me married, but as much as they are mine alone they don’t belong to me: I am renting them, leasing them, borrowing them, reordering them, playing with them.
So it may be that words are nothing but signs, they direct and they point but the horizon is broad, there is no one place at which they settle.
Words cannot be translated unless I craft them with precision, dedicate them to a form and framework, socially compatible citizenship, citizenship of shared sign consumption.
Yet still they are translated in myriad ways, is there a right way to read my words? Do I inform myself through them? Do I inform of myself through them? Psychologists earn money from this.
Life is written every day, everyday life is written every day. There are different modes and speeds and different times and places and moods. The newspapers, the headlines on telly, the bus ticket, the cab receipt, and the numbers punched on tills for shopping bills. There is a recording of signs pointing to where your life has been; a trail of crumbs through the woods of existence. It leads in circles. From the registrars note about your birth to the full stop on the registrars note on your death. It is extended through an elegant obituary for those with friends and families or who have fallen into graves from high places, but the government make mention of even the pauper, albeit in cold, blank terms.
The poor are never loved by government machinery, instead they are hidden by words such as ‘scrounger’, ‘selfish’, ‘lazy’.
Words begin in space; they describe space and that which space forms from its absence. Space is around a chair but not exactly where the chair is, except between the fibres and crevices, the braces and glue. Words describe space when it is no longer space but another thing.
Words are borders; they describe coasts and boundaries and give them names – sometimes they create countries. They instigate wars and are signatures to peace. They are causes and consequences, they are love and they are hate.
Words are keys to unlock the mysteries of the inner to the outer, to be ingested back again from the guru to the gut. They clarify maps and tables and graphs so we can measure and know what we measure. A number can be a word but can a word be a number?
Numbers and words live together in minds and on keyboards. They inhabit every size and every shape. They are descriptions and facts, fairytales and love.
We are human because words let our consciousness talk to us.
Without words we would be indescribable.
We are in the end, the words in our heads.
The light of guidance that is Islam is so strong, so bright that one thinks it can only be applied in absolute terms. One can be blinded to its nuance, its varying possibilities, applications and paths. Its core is light. But light comes in beams and strands, it bends and straightens and curves. It’s centre is one, yet its reception are many blended streams. It is not that there are many equal truths, that there are many paths. No. There is still a difference between genuineness and falsehood, there are still rights and wrongs, and there is still the real Islam and claimant Islam. The path to heaven is straight and long and although well lit, we may not always place our feet exactly where the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam) trod. It does not mean we are going the wrong way, it is just that Allah guided me uniquely from the way He ta’ala uniquely guided you. Lower the wing of gentleness.
Strong and bitter, it grounds you in the earth whilst yet regarding the straw shaded sun. You are rooted and burning. The tongue drinks and is flattened, dried, tasting within the lasting pause, temptation for another sip, for another cup. This is gyokuro green tea.
The inside of my face has been scrawled with the graffiti of my experiences and thoughts.
Together they are varnished over with sweat and sighs and torched wishes; black ash for hope, dark clouds stripped of their silver linings.
It cannot be imitated, it cannot be known for it is visible to me alone.
It is me.