Saturday, March 4, 2017

The need

I have naught with me to sell in the shadow fair
My heart is valuable but only to me, 
what price can it get?
since trade is of a thing precious to both
Though hunger pangs force me to the market square

I too without this cursed need would desire not a shadow’s fare

The Sleepers of Ephesus


Do you know that the world is roiling in anger
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved

Do you know prejudices are burning each other
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved

Don't you hear that people don't care to live anymore
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved

We have to do something to make this world a better place
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved

Why do you not take opium instead, you will then have a reason to be senseless
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved

You are useless. It is because of likes of you, this tyranny is
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved


If not do anything, let your heart be soft at least! mourn! please!
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved

Did the Beloved not order you to Struggle
Dearest did you mention the Beloved? 

Yes, in Beloved's name move your sloth soul to action
Ah! Dear, if I were to listen to you and do something
I would only be doing to please you or 
Or to my tarnished image apply salve
So someone else can be called evil
Or I would be acting to protect my kin
Over another son of Adam
Or protecting my food and riches
To make another soul go hungry
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved

So you look down on me, you think me unholy
That I am not in a slumber and trying to change
While our children drown helpless in seas
And are washed upon shores of indifference

Ah dear, I too have died and been violated
Again and again; each worse than before
Each misery is the cost of a feeling heart
But it is the dread of numbness that
Burdens me to your stated inaction
The will of my Beloved is to Be
It to be Loved is me
The perfection of Justice is as perfect
As every moment I breathe or not
I be or not, all is or not
How can I look down on a slave who moves
By His Breath and seeks to change the world
All I can say is that I hear the sighing winds
And when a raindrop with my name 
Comes forth out of the mountainous clouds
As a healing for parched land
Or flood for the flooded
I will play my part, jubilant ecstatic
At being re-membered, 
But till then 
Let it go dear, let it go
tell me some about The Beloved


An inconsistent inconsistence

I have a thirst unquenched by seven seas
And a hunger that cannot be sate 
Feeling naked under the thickest veil
And despite roving eyes, remain blind
I have learned enough to know me unlettered
And am blessed with wisdom to play a fool
Amidst these treasures, still a pauper

Alive, I walk and laugh pretending at death

The decision that matters in depression

The decision that matters in depression. 

One of the things that characterizes many mental health problems, particularly depression is the vicious cycle that a person finds himself caught up in. The lack of ability to pull oneself out of problematic behavior patterns, contributes to more problems with self esteem and hopelessness which in turn sap a person’s strength more. The result is a state of inaction and stagnation. A person starts doubting their ability to do much of anything, if this cycle continues. 

I will illustrate this point with a single example. Most people with depression are too tired (both physically and emotionally) to go out of the house and do things. They will not wake up in the morning on weekends. They will not go out of the house for a walk at sunset. They will not go look at the flowers. They will not pick up the phone and invite someone for lunch. And most of the time these things are discounted as superfluous. “How much effect can one action have on the persistent sadness that pervades me”, they think. “Even if I can just manage to meet my responsibilities that would be more than enough”. I need to rest, so I have energy to do the important things. I do not have time to do anything else”. 

This kind of thinking is usually because of a cognitive distortion. That means that the depressed person will rely on a finite number of thought patterns that have been found to propagate depression. These are thoughts that are part of the vicious downward spiral and they deserve to be noticed. A lot cognitive behavioral therapists work with these thoughts. A stage in cognitive behavior therapy is called behavioral activation. This is the stage in which a person acts and take initiatives that they were previously not taking. 

Just like there is a negative spiral that can spin out of control, similarly, there is a positive spiral that can help us. Part of our job is to identify and then make use of the wafting currents of the positive spiral. 

For example, the person who decides instead of sleeping at 8pm, goes out for dinner with a friend will find that her one decision does not help her only in terms of that night. One positive decision multiplies. At dinner, she might find herself enjoying the food and decide to find a way to replicate it at home. Or that person might see the lights and people laughing and decide that she should get out more often. Or the friend that she meets might make her laugh. Or the friend might invite her to another lunch where there would be more people to connect with. Or that friend might talk about catching a movie together. Or she might want to go to see an interesting movie by herself. Or she might learn something about the new interest her friend has and she might start thinking about picking it up. Or her friend might share something sad about his life. It is possible that she might find herself as someone who is giving comfort rather than someone who is seeking it. Or she might find herself humming a song at the end of the night. Or she might think of a funny moment at dinner, while trying to go to sleep. Or next day she might have a thought about the dinner and reach out and say thank you to her friend. Or follow up on something else. 


I will invite you to compare this with her having gone to bed at 8pm and waking up in the morning. The one decision to pick up the phone and plan a dinner with her friend does not give dividends for just that evening. One decision followed through has the potential for giving structure to multiple other times. And this gift of life multiplies with every decision that we make. Not every dinner goes perfect. But not every dinner is a disaster. Chances are there will be some fun stuff, some boring stuff, some cheerful thoughts, some depressing thoughts. But regardless there is the promise of future happiness. And sometimes promises are the things that keeps us going on in life. So when it is time make the decision that is positive for your goals, make it. Faith is about making the decision without knowing what is out there but hoping for the best. It does come down to one decision at a time.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Salaatahu Tasbeehahu

There is a beat of the universe which sings
Devotional hymns
And the symphony is of infinite notes
Of Salatahu, Tasbeehahu
Through all motion is love
a hummed emotion
And A-love wails too but in crackling sighs
When a sound breaks my lips, it mourns
It's very existence,
If it's birth is not in Your name
And the wave of all prostrations, a pitch
Of which my ears, the glories can not hear
So when every inch of my being is
Answering, resonating to unseen tones
The only way I bear the silent times
Is think it an orchestral tacet, a rest,
A mercy!
Wait, my dear, be patient, hearken
The refrain is about to come!



Saturday, January 14, 2017

At the tavern

Your lovers gathered at the tavern tonight
I felt belonging and longing in their sight
Mayhap I felt the coldness of jealous claws
On meeting one enraptured in Your cause
Mayhap instead of love, the thorn in my heart,
In Your Psalm, moved me, to whirl my part.
I too got drunk and out staggered to claim
notice of passing people to praise Your Name
Did I want them to share the same bane I had felt
On Your mention when someone had lovingly dwelt
Or maybe in my ecstasy I tumbled could not see
When the color of beating passion ablaze be
Red I whirled, round and round too dizzy to know
Only You witness the fruits of my lyrical sow
and of the intention behind this gnawing doubt
I am a leaf in helpless rapture, blown about
I pray the wind takes me towards Your home
If not, Undone, I have but nowhere to roam.
It’s risky to eye the sun; the wind can take one either way
For stale blindness surely, for certain will
lead me astray!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Surah Hujraat

One of my peers wrote this out beautifully. This was a class project of an Arabic grammar class I was taking. This was our final class project. Sadly I only finished the project in my head but it definitely had a deep impact on me as this is a Surah of manners.

Here's the nine lessons from Surah Hujraat:

"When a glass is broken, the sound of breaking disappears immediately whereas the glass pieces are scattered over the ground hurting whoever walks over it".
Similarly, "when you say something that hurts people's emotions and feelings, the voice disappears immediately but the heart remains in pain for long."
Therefore, don't say anything except good and remember always the nine advises and prohibitions that Allah Almighty gave us in Suratul Hujraat (The Surah of Islamic manners) before you say something to anyone:

1.-فتبينوا:
"Fa Tabayyanu": Investigate: when you receive an information, lest you harm people out of ignorance.
2.-فأصلحوا:
"Fa Aslihu": Make settlement: between your brothers as believers are brothers.
3.-وأقسطوا:
"Wa Aqsitu": Act justly: whenever there is a dispute try for settlement and act justly among both parties as Allah loves those who act justly.
4.-لا يسخر:
"La Yaskhar": Don't ridicule people, perhaps they may be better than you to Allah.
5.-ولا تلمزوا:
"Wa La Talmizu": Don't insult one another.
6.-ولا تنابزوا:
"Wa La Tanabazu": Don't call each other with offensive nicknames.
7.-اجتنبو كثيرا من الظن:
"Ijtanibu Kathiiran min Aldhan": Avoid negative assumptions, indeed some of the assumptions are sins.
8.-ولا تجسسوا:
"Wa La Tajassasu": Don't spy on each other.
9.-ولا يغتب بعضكم بعضا:
"Wa La Yaghtab": Don't backbite each other. Its a major sin equivalent to eating your dead brother's flesh.


Lastly Allah said in the Qur'an "Remind, for the reminder benefits believers".

*May Allah continue to Bless and Guide us in all our affairs*.