Sunday, October 24, 2010

On the Periphery of Eruption

They try to extinguish these candles of passion
And disturb my ebullience.
They try to silence my thoughts and stultify my valor.
Do they wish I become one of them –
Burn in the rages of ennui and be damned to perdition?
But how am I to relinquish this dwelling of learning?
How must I shun this faith I have descried?
Must I continue reconnoitering new vistas while they regress,
Or must I capitulate to their baleful despise?
Ahhh! How the emollient whispers of each candle compel me
To reject these scathing overtures of a folk unlettered!
I lie here befuddled:
Why seek the approbation of
A people outside my realm of understanding? 
But I must welcome their flagging adoration!    
For, if pondering makes me a miscreant, then a miscreant I shall be!
And I must resist
Until the last candle of passion has consumed itself.
I am but a dauntless soul,
A circumspect acolyte of reason
Learning under the aegis of my teachers,
While caged in a society distended with sanctimony! 

~ Qrratugai, October 24th 2010

Persistence is the only thing that keeps you going.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

Today, I had the privilege of attending a lecture led by Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr (YES!!! I did! OMG!) and followed by Vincent Cornell and Scott Kugle (that's correct!) on the pursuit of happiness.

They talked on the concept of happiness in the Islamic tradition. Other scholars talked on faith and other religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism).

It was SO refreshing, SO beautiful, SO peaceful!

Anyway, so lemme share briefly with you what I learned and what they said. Some narrated Sufi stories and the thoughts of Muslim philosophers and scholars on what happiness is, how it is achieved, what it's for, and where it comes from. They talked on what our scholars of the past meant, and what's meant even today, when they say, "Reject the desires of this earth" (this is important to me personally 'cause I always misunderstood it. I thought it means what many people think it means: to literally abandon this earth, don't associate with anyone, resist all desires, and so on. Ahhh, but that's not what it means! I'll explain another time what it really means, ka khairee). The most interesting thing was said by Kugle: "It is not the pursuit of happiness we should be discussing or seeking; it is the pursuit of contentment." He, like the other speakers, reminded us that contentment is more important than happiness and that happiness is only transitory. Contentment, however, is deeper. To be content is to realize that your goals can become your prison, a dead end; to be content is not to let your heart be attached to anything; to be content is to experience something bad and, instead of feeling depressed or angry, looking at it from a distant, asking what it could mean and why it might have occurred (in other words, "What can I learn from this? What can this lesson teach me? It's not in my control, so what can I get from being angered by it?").

Contentment is best achieved by giving, by being generous, by sharing; to be fully content, one should possess the hospitality of the earth.

Most interestingly, the Arabic word for "happiness" is "Sa'aadah," ("Anaa saeedah" = I am happy). But it also means salvation. The speakers therefore asserted that, in Islam, one can attain happiness by attaining salvation. (I will get into the whole philosophical concept of happiness, heaven, hell, etc. in another blog post, not now.)

They said that another way to attain happiness (and salvation) is by performing dhikr, the remembrance of God. There are many ways one can do dhikr, but, when asked if he could perform it for the audience, Professor Hossein said he does not believe it should be done in or for the public.

And, last, they all also agreed with the other speakers and followers and supporters of other religious ideologies by stating that happiness comes with knowing who you are. They told stories in which this is explained. ... And I'll have to watch the lectures again to be able to share each story here, but that's not happening now, k?

Each of these points can be elaborated extensively, I know, but I needed to write all this down for my own sake, so it's not detailed. I'm just saying it all here because it was a really enlightening lecture, and the feeling of being around those sages was and always will be simply divine.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My New Blog :D

YAY! I got a new blog now! I am still gonna keep this Qrratugai one, of course. The other's one just going to have academic themes only, and my audience will include scholars in Islamic studies, gender studies, ethnography, and other academic interests of mine. And I'm going to be posting all things related to gender and Islam there!!

The link to it is: Islam and Gender
Sorry I couldn't think of a more interesting title or link. But no worries: We can change the link any time we like, so if you've got better suggestions, lemme knooooooow, or don't complain.


- Qrratugai

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Living Love" - what it means to love and be loved!

Yes, I remember the first time we talked. I was angry at him, and we talked about God. He had said something about a quality of mine that I never stopped reminding him for the rest of our life. Never you mind—you shouldn’t know that much. Just know that it was love. When we talked, love talked; love talked to us, and we talked to love. And we talked about love, and he’d tell me always that he did not believe in it; love was not for intelligent people, he’d say. Only I, of the billions of women in the world, had the honor to tell him, “You think you’re all that, but you’re not. Come down to earth. You’re worth no more than I am, and I believe in love.”

I remember, too, the first time he held my hand in his. I remember the warmth, the scent, the love, the respect. He said he could read palms, and so he took mine to pretend to read it. I knew he was lying. But it was the right thing to do with him—only with him. It took him several weeks to realize I could read his mind, because his mind was mine and mine was his and we were one, so he didn’t have to lie. Oh but how he lied! It was no Bollywood movie. I wanted him to hold it forever, and he did. He is still holding it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Abu's Comments

Pa khairuno, Abu (Hurairah)! 
I hope all's well with you.

Kha, so, since the Chatter Box thingie is mostly for hi/bye/sup kinda talks, I figured I should create a whole new blog post for you where you can say anything you want in the comment box below. Feel free to ask all your questions, complain about Qrratugai's beliefs (lol :D), and say whatever else crosses your mind. I'll respond accordingly. 

I think this is better, but if you prefer the chatter-boxie, I guess I can live with that. 

Dre nim darzana manana, wror gwala!

- Qrratu

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Mother's Advice to Her Bride-Daughter

I just read this on some Facebook group, and, and, and . . . well, I wish I didn't have to say that I'm SO sorry for the poor bride who does take (some of) this advice! Consider the boldened parts, for example. Of course, some of it is very helpful, noble truths, I want to call them  -- but they don't apply to women alone; they could prove quite helpful for men as well (example: "Show him as much honor and respect as you can"; So I don't know why the emphasis had to be on the bride only.Yes, there's one point in which the mother tells the daughter to become like a servant to her husband --  but she adds that "so that he will become like a servant to you." I guess it's just that I can't see myself treating my husband like a servant or accepting servile treatment by him! Or that I would never be able to respect a man who cannot handle disagreements (the mother tells the daughter to always agree with her husband so that he will enjoy her company).

Khair, enjoy, folks!

Abd al-Malik (RA) said: "When 'Awf ibn Muhallim al-Shaybani, one of the most highly respected leaders of the Arab nobility during the jahiliyyah, married his daughter Umm Iyas to al-Harith ibn 'Amr al-Kindi, she was made ready to be taken to the groom, then her mother, Umamah came into her, to advise her and said:

'O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice because of good manners and noble descent, then it would have been unnecessary for you, because you posses these qualities, but it will serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those who are wise.
'O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue of her father's wealth and her need for her father, then you of all people would be most able to do without a husband, but women were created for men just as men were created for them.
'O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up, where you first learned to walk, to go to a place you do not know, to a companion to whom you are unfamiliar. By marrying you, he has become a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become like a servant to you.
'Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you.
'The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and listen to and obey him, for contentment brings peace of mind, and listening to and obeying one's husband pleases Allah.
'The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and look good; he should not see anything ugly in you, and he should not smell anything but a pleasant smell from you. Kohl is the best kind of beautification to be found, and water is better than the rarest perfume.
'The fifth and sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep quiet when he is asleep, for raging hunger is like a burning flame, and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.
'The seventh and eight of them are: take care of his servants (or employees) and children, and take care of his wealth, for taking care of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and taking care of his children and servants shows good management.
'Know, O my daughter, that you will not achieve what you would like to until you put his pleasure before your own, and his wishes before yours, in whatever you like and dislike. And may Allah choose what is best for you and protect you." (Jamharah Khutah al-'Arab, 1/145)
'Be careful, O my daughter, of showing joy in front of him when he is upset, and do not show sorrow in front of him when he is happy, because the former shows a lack of judgment whilst the latter will make him unhappy.
'Show him as much honour and respect as you can, and agree with him as much as you can, so that he will enjoy your companionship and conversation.
'The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets, and never disobey any of his orders, for if you disclose any of his secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal, and if you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.

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