Rest in Peace – Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014 – A truly ‘Phenomenal woman’

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

 

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

 

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

 

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

“Assalatu khayrum minan naum” الصلاة خير من النوم

“Assalatu khayrum minan naum

الصلاة خير من النوم

Why do you not hear the Beloveds call?

When He found you lost and guided you.

He found you broken and saved you.

He found you alone and befriended you.

He found you hurt and healed you.

He found you each and every time, by calling you:

“Assalatu khayrum minan naum

الصلاة خير من النوم

Why do you not hear the Beloved call?

Has your heart become so attached to the sounds of this Earth,

 that you do not hear the soft tone, of The One.

The Earth spinning on its axis hears His call,

the Sun that rises in the east and sets in the west hears His call,

the Moon taking over at night hears His call,

each rushing to obey swiftly, at His Call.

Yet you do not hear the Beloveds call.

Why has your heard hardened to the Call of the Beloved?

“Assalatu khayrum minan naum

الصلاة خير من النوم

 Come, Come, lets go Home.

Miracle

Image

 

I never imagined, to be,

One of those, who preach,

I never thought I would see,

The beauty of your love, so clearly,

I always hoped but never believed,

Miracles were always for the weak.

Now, years later I can perceive,

The irrationality of my old futile creed.

Now, years later, I know I bear witness, to You,

The One and Only.

My everything.

Beloved

Why has your heart hardened to the call of the Beloved?

Do you not hear the calling at dawn?

The birds chirping, singing the Beloveds song,

the trees swaying, bowing down at every call.

Why have your eyes veiled to the beauty of the Beloved?

Do you not see the shining of the stars that scatter the night sky?

The leafs that change colour, at their set time,

the rain that pours down, giving way to life.

Why has your heart hardened to the call of the Beloved?

The one who made love, gives love and is loved.

Why has your heart hardened to the call of the Beloved?

Are you not in Love?

On Storytelling

Image

It was like a mystical moment. A moment of high revelation and spiritual ecstasy; It was a scary conversation; one of my first ever on a philosophical level. 

It was a revelation of words. It was a revelation of true storytelling.

A conversion.

“Your life is a story.” I still hear the words SHE had said to me.

SHE was like Mother Nature calling out to me – whispering her secret, through the caress of the summer wind.

It’s funny though, because I cannot recall who this SHE was now. I know I loved her.

Memory fails me. I’m hardly what you would call old; just aged with the timeless quality of an antique timepiece. Hidden away in the shadows; an Old Soul. Unknown to the Earth; a fragmented Nomad.

Every little thing that happens to you, whether good or bad and everyone who enters your life – whether for a second, a minute, an hour, a day, month or a year – becomes a part of Your story.”

Her tone rose on the word “Your”.

“My Story,” I had repeated.

I marveled at the notion of life being a story and I thought back to the days, months and years on end, when i had tried so hard to make the odd, aching, disjointed puzzles of life fit together. Of course, they never did fit.

But her words, in that brief encounter had taught me that what i had been searching for since that first gush of fresh air had reached my dry throat.

I didn’t have control over the characters and incidents of this story. 

I was in awe at the simple logic of this.

For days on end I recall that aged, old anguish one has, at the lack of control one has over his life – all the while thinking he is in control.

I had sighed.

I rejoiced at the harsh memories in my Pandora’s Box and at the silent picture frames haunting the edges of my own untold Odyssey.

Embrace it, for only you can Tell Your Story.”

I always fancied myself in the World of Old.

The myth was out.

I had turned, trying to catch her. But it was too late she had glided past me, leaving a ghostly chill.

I heard her often. But I never felt her again.

But there are times, I can swear the oath that she is near. Close by. Waiting to remind me of my tale, still untold.

Rumi: Come, Come…

I-know-youre-tired-but

“Come, Come,

Whoever you are,

Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.

It doesn’t matter,

Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come. Even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.

Come, yet again, Come, Come.” – Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

Aside

The RADICAL:Brigitte Gabriel A.K.A Noor Saman : Biography by NomadAlphard (The Truth As I see it)

I first stumbled across Noor Saman a.k.a Brigitte Gabriel, while working at a stuffy call centre for a housing association, during the summer of 2012.

During one of the long and crammed afternoons in our small office, a colleague of mine and a devout Christian, Mr Edmond, asked me in between taking calls about my views on a particular public speaker and activist.

Her name was Brigitte Gabriel and I had never heard of her before.

As usual I perked up at hearing this. My eyes lit up at the thought of intelligent conversation and a chance to learn from Mr Edmond once again. He was very interesting and always made the boring call taking more entertaining!

But more so than anything, I loved hearing about the work of activists. It felt to me that in this day and age with war always at the brink, religious discomfort and calamity, there weren’t many people who were recognised in their efforts. It seemed they were usually shot down before they could even speak, usually by government officials and the radicals of today or glazed over by the superficial creations of this world.

Mr Edmond informed me of Gabriel and said he had seen a recent YouTube clip of this women, who had lived through “Islamic Terror” at a young age and was now an active public speaker and author.

I was confused. “Islamic Terror”?

I’d never heard of Gabriel before and was intrigued as he was always one to throw questions my way regarding religion and politics, in our usual banter sessions regarding the World, Politics and Religion. This was our way of passing the mundane hours of being customer services advisors.

While telling me about this character, he gave the impression that this individual had gained a lot of recognition both nationally and internationally; due to her actively speaking out about the threat of Islam to the West and her traumatic childhood during the Lebanon civil war which she seemed to fundamentally blame on Muslims.

Through conversation, it came across to me that Gabriel’s main aim in life, both professional and personal was to eliminate the threat of “Radical Islam” [1] from the USA. It seemed she was an active public speaker and a general expert on terrorism and what she terms “radical Muslims”[2]. While listening to Mr Edmond I realised, however, her view on Islam was a negative one, which was highly mixed with her own interpretations and opinions on Muslims and our religious beliefs.

I was surprised, initially when he had said Activist, I thought he meant someone who cared about all of humanity, not someone who was pointing the finger at just Muslims, Islam and well ME…

Mr Edmond himself asked me many questions about Muslims and whether we believed it was okay to kill Christians and Jews in the name of Allah (swt) and whether we all viewed them as infidels and us superior to them. Completely flabbergasted and quite upset about hearing this, I informed him that this was definitely not the case; in the words of our Prophet (pbuh):

 “Whoever wishes to be kept away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise should have death overtake him while he believes in Allah and the Last Day and should treat people the way he wants them to treat him.” [Sahîh Muslim][3]

**

Upset, but genuinely intrigued I embarked upon the search to find out more about Brigitte Gabriel.

I was not going to allow my colleague who i geniunely thought highly of, to have such a negative view about Islam and my community.

**

My search took me back to the Lebanon of the 1970’s; Gabriel’s birth name was not Brigitte Gabriel but Noor Saman. A born Arab, she was an only child to her Maronite Christian parents and was born twenty yrs into their marriage. Her parents were then 55 and 60. Born in the district of Marjayoun in South Lebanon, Saman and her family would later experience the Lebanese Civil War, lasting from around 1975-1990, around ten years after her birth on the 21st of October 1964[4].

With the internet at hand I had access to many articles, biographies and also had discovered that Saman was the founder of a right wing organisation called ACT!(the American Congress For Truth) which promoted her views, regarding Islam as being a backward religion and something to be feared and eliminated.  On the website and in her published books, I found many false accusations and taken out of context information and verses from the Quran. I remembered Sheikh Abdurrahman from a recent course I had attended, talking about “Cut and paste scholars” and in my opinion this is exactly what she seemed to be.

Going through many speeches and articles on Saman, I realized that Samans activism was more of a vicious, hate campaign, against Islam and Muslims. She says Radical Islam is her concern; however there are radicals in every religion, race, community and country. I wondered if they were all her concern as well?

According to Saman we are all radical Muslims; her definition of a radical Muslims is as follows:

            A practising Muslim, who goes to mosque every Friday, prays five times a day, and who believes that the Koran is the word of God, and who believes that Mohammed is the perfect man and… is a radical Muslim.”[5]

I found it fascinating, how one individual could indirectly say that the 2.1 billion[6] Muslims in the world are all radical and terrorist because we follow or attempt to follow our religion.

Going back into work the next day, I explained to Mr Edmonds in a not so rational manner that I thought she was well vile. I was disappointed and upset. I couldn’t believe that he of all people would have given this person any interest or attention.

I questioned after the above speech;

“Does it make it right to say that all the Christians in the world who go to church or that the whole of the Vatican and the pope and his bishops and the rest are all pedophiles?”

Seeing as there have been recent headlines informing us of such disgusting atrocities committed by some of the God fearing monks of the Vatican.

He was silent. I answered for him.

“It did not make it right. Why? Because, this would be a lie and a disgusting accusation on all Christians worldwide. One cannot paint everybody with the same brush. We can’t say all the Irish are Terrorists due to the IRA?”

He agreed with me.

However, he said to me that I was still being biased and not looking at the overall picture or taking her childhood into consideration. I was completely disgusted but respected his viewpoint and promised I would look into the matter more before making my judgement.  I suppose he was being neutral.

**

It appeared that Mr Edmond was not the only one who seemed to have gotten blinded by Saman’s persuasive preaching.

Delving in deeper into the life and world of Noor Saman I uncovered her childhood story. It touched me, but also confused me furthermore.

As the civil war began in Lebanon, Saman explains her experiences and encounters with Radical Islamists in the following words, When the war began in Lebanon, we, the Christian minority, were surrounded by the radical Islamists in southern Lebanon.”[7]

She claims that, she had been left lying injured in rubble after Muslims mercilessly bombed her village.”[8]

Saman says that her and her family had to live in an underground bomb shelter for several years during the war and had to go without running water, heating and not much food. She informs the world that she had to crawl to a water spring in an underground ditch to obtain water. She was in fear of not coming back alive and would always say her prayers before. [9]

She tells in an interview, how this went on until the Israelis came to their aid and helped the Christian towns bringing them food and aid during the nights and then eventually invading Lebanon in 1982.

Saman explains how she loved the Israelis and their support and help through the civil war made her realize that whatever the Arab world was told about Israel was a lie and she wanted to move there and adopt their values and ways; Saman did indeed eventually move to Israel in 1984 and established a career as a news anchor for World News in Jerusalem; [10]she immigrating to the USA in 1989 through marriage with a US citizen.

It seems Saman had gone through many traumatic and life changing experiences which cannot be stressed or done justice in such a short biography with a limited number of words. Living through and surviving a war let alone being able to tell your story internationally to the public is an act which in my view is commendable. I for one know how hard it is to speak about personal traumatic experiences.

I suppose my disgust in her began to be replaced more so with pity at her narrow minded perceptions.

I shouldn’t have been surprised people who had traumatic experiences did tend to go either way. Saman seemed to have gone down the path of hate and ignorance. The only shame being she took others with her.

**

I couldn’t decide whether I had read enough or not.

The questions which kept nagging at my mind were why someone who has seen such a life and experienced such traumatic events would be sending out such a vengeful and hateful message to the world about Muslims and Islam.

She seemed to blame everyone else around her and didn’t look at the picture in front of her. “But no one really noticed or cared…With my life on line, I really cared, while the rest of the world just watched.” She explains in her book ‘Because They Hate’.[11] The “They” here being Muslims.

I once again couldn’t understand her mind process. Civil Wars had been going on since the beginning of time. Muslims as well as Christians died in the Lebanon civil war. It was also true that Muslims fought Muslims and Christians fought Christians.

An article I came across published the following:

 “THE BIGOT OF MARJAYOUN: … Joining with the US- Israel lobby, she has been organising perhaps the most vicious hate campaign against Islam, Arabs and Muslims ever witnessed in America.

There is no shortage of people in Marjayoun with varying views of “what happened to Miss Brigitte” and how she became so hateful towards her countrymen and became an Israeli collaborator. “She always loved the Israeli occupation of Marjayoun and over time just came to dislike Arabs of all types, even though as a Lebanese she is totally Arab,” one of her former neighbours explained.

Another disagreed, “Brigitte never really thought of herself as an Arab at all; rather she fantasised that she was ‘Phoenician’ and pointed out to her Arabs neighbours that ‘Phoenicians were in Lebanon long before the Arabs invaded and it belongs to us!'” According to a former classmate, when she was in middle school, Brigitte preferred French and would announce to classmates in Arabic class, “I don’t speak Arabic, I speak Lebanese!””[12]

This changed things even further for me. I was once again surprised and confused all over again. I wondered what Mr Edmond would make of this?

**

It appeared that Saman’s constant attack on Radical Islam was not just against radical Islam or terrorism. Reading “They Must Be Stopped”[13]the New York Times bestseller, I couldn’t help but notice racism in her tone of voice.

Gabriel states that America is at war, “We are at war whether we wish it or not” against “radical Muslims”[14].

She believes that Islam is infiltrating the west and is hell bent on taking over the USA.  Her take on Islamic history is manipulated and highly offensive in the whole of chapter two in “They Must Be Stopped” she resorts to picking and choosing Quranic Verses to support her argument, that Muslims lay a firm belief in encouraging violence, war and want to take over the western world with Islam and Sharia Law; due to the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet (pbuh).[15]  She definitely was a “Cut and paste Scholar.”

What was more surprising than anything I had come across for me was her view on Arabs; a born Arab she views the Arab world to have no soul:

            “The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism. It’s the difference between good and evil [applause]…. this is what we’re witnessing in the Arabic world, They have no SOUL!, they are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call “Allah” which is very different from the God we believe… [applause] because our God is the God of love.”[16]

Claiming that as Muslims we view others to be “infidels” was astonishing considering the above statement she had made.

It seemed Gabriel termed herself and the non-Muslim world as “Infidels” more so than any Muslim I know ever did. In my own reading and learning of the Quran and the Prophet (pbuh) teachings, I had hardly ever come across the word “Infidel”[17], but her books and speeches seemed to be filled with it.

She could not surprise me anymore it seemed, calling Arabs Barbarians? Her own people? Her contradictory, hypocritical statements and narrow minded Islamphobic, racist view was too much for me.

This lady was indirectly attacking not just what she terms “Radical Muslims” but was attacking ME, my loved ones, my Ummah and my Nations. As Muslims we are united.

But, Forgiveness and Mercy is what my religion tells me should take precedence over all.

**

I pitied her Noor. Only God could pass Judgement.

I didn’t believe my God was any different to her God. I know that it was God who sent down the Bible. If she claims to be a Christian she would know that as Muslims we do not discriminate against the Bible or Torah. All the Believers are to us the Believers of the Book and our brothers and sisters, we are told this in the Quran. And the ‘Believer’ is not even just termed as a follower of a book.

But she wouldn’t see this as all she did seem to see was what she wanted to see. “This book is in part my personal story and my observations”[18]. She was right these were exactly just her “Observations”. A pity they were so misguided and ignorant.

**

I had it set in my heart that I was going to inform Mr Edmond of all this. He had told me he had only seen the YouTube clip.

Well, he needed to see and know this. i felt It was my duty as a Muslim to set things right and defend my Deen.

However, I never did get the chance. By the time I had completed my research I had left my summer job.

**

As Brigitte Gabriel gave her observations I have given mine and i have not cut and pasted i have done my research;

In truth it seems man when led by emotions cannot see the rational reasoning. The facts when displayed are rejected without thought.

I suppose everyone only believes what they want to believe. Observes only what they wish to observe, feel only their pain and see only what they want to see.

Just like Noor Saman, a.k.a Brigitte Gabriel.

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Gabriel.B, They Must Be Stopped, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2008), pg.2.

[2] Gabriel.B, They Must Be Stopped, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2008), pg.2.

[4] Brigitte Gabriel from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, viewed 4th November 2012. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigitte_Gabriel

[5] Mooneye, A case study in sincere hypocrisy: Brigitte Gabriel, Loon Watch. Viewed 28th October 2012. URL: http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/04/a-case-study-in-sincere-hypocrisy-brigitte-gabriel/

[6] Word Muslim Population, viewed on 4th November 2012. URL: http://www.muslimpopulation.com/World/

[7] Aronoff.R, Take AIM:Brigitte Gabriel, Accuracy in Media, viewed 4th November 2012. URL: http://www.aim.org/podcast/take-aim-brigitte-gabriel/

[8] Goodstein.L, Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message, The New York Times, viewed 4th November 2012. URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/us/08gabriel.html?pagewanted=all

[9] Gabriel.B, Bio-Brigitte Gabriel, viewed on 28th October 2012. URL: http://ifogo.com/1Authors/Brigitte%20Gabriel/gabriel.html

[10] Aronoff.R, Take AIM:Brigitte Gabriel, Accuracy in Media, viewed 4th November 2012. URL: http://www.aim.org/podcast/take-aim-brigitte-gabriel/

[11] Gabriel.B, Because they hate, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2006), introduction.

[12] Lamb.F, Lost from Lebanon, in Al-Ahram online, viewed 28th October 2012. URL: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/887/focus.htm

[13] Gabriel.B, They Must Be Stopped, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2008), (Book cover).

[14] Gabriel.B, They Must Be Stopped, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2008), pg.2.

[15] Gabriel.B, They Must Be Stopped, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2008), pg.29-51

[16] Mooneye, A case study in sincere hypocrisy: Brigitte Gabriel, Loon Watch. Viewed 28th October 2012. URL: http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/04/a-case-study-in-sincere-hypocrisy-brigitte-gabriel/

[17] Gabriel.B, Because they hate, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2006), throughout.

[18] Gabriel.B, Because they hate, Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin (2006), introduction.

Egypt PM decries Gaza ‘aggression’ by Israel – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Egypt PM decries Gaza ‘aggression’ by Israel – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

History repeats itself:Palestine

20121116-122651.jpg

Make a prayer for the oppressed today. Stop and think.
How can we look at ourselves in the mirror?

I’m ashamed to be a human.

My brothers and sisters in Palestine are being treated as if they were worse then animals.
We pet and feed our animals.
But we bomb and shower our fellow humans with rain pour after rain pour of bullets and blood.
Is this humanity?
Israel have you forgotten what Hitler did to your people?
Why have you lost your humanity and forgotten your own oppression?

Stop. Think. Pray.

An Ode to Palestine

Everyday I wake up to hear more lives lost;
More children orphaned and their cries not heard…
Everyday I can hear their screams in my ears,
I can see tears streaming down their faces, watching their loved ones go numb,
Everyday we live, while their hearts slowly stop,
From the mass killings condoned by Israel’s handguns.

Everyday my heart turns cold knowing we can never do enough.
Everyday I question my lord what have they ever done?

But everyday I know their souls will go on.
They will live beyond this worlds gruesome love.
They will live to soar the sky’s up above.
They will be remembered and their hearts will go on to the place where we all one day will return.

They can take their lives and loved ones,
But only Allah can take their souls high, high up above.
Everyday I will pray and I will watch.
Everyday..
Everyday…

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