Tests

Others are tested by their circumstances. I am consistently tested by myself. And consistently fail. The battle with the nafs is unending. Success always illusory. Disappointed by myself but evidently not disappointed enough to change.

Misadventures

Ah, I see we are beating the drums of war again. What a way to commemorate those who died in terrorist attacks in London a decade ago. What a way to mourn the dead! Will these vicious cycles of violence never end? Have we learned nothing from our last misadventure in Libya? From the anarchy which filled the vacuum left behind; from the unleashing of the jihadist, takfiri armies; from the endless stream of refugees embarking across the Mediterranean from Tripoli? Two Gulf Wars are ancient history, let alone Operation Boot or the Suez Crisis. The world is set ablaze. Somebody tell our leaders that you can’t dampen the flames by smothering them with petrol. Somebody call the peace makers. Or must we just resign to more killing, more war? Must we just resign to death and destruction and this war without end? Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…

The steadfast

Remaining steadfast after repentance: what is the trick? The repentance that came from nowhere on the 15th of Muharram was so sincere and sweet and true. It was like a new beginning. A night in prayer. Tears. Forehead to the floor. There came that resolve never, never to return. To pull back. To start anew. There were evident signs in the air. A week of goodness followed. And then what? What changed? A door opened a crack? A passing thought made real? Wonderment? Doubt? Addiction? The assault of the eternal what if? And though I repent again, it does not feel real like last time; how can it be accepted now, after the fall, the return. Here the month of Mercy. Could it be expiation for my sins? Could it purify me and rectify for me my affairs? Will I let it? Can I remain steadfast and true? Or shall I forever remain like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind? What is the secret of the steadfast?

Strangers

There I was enjoying my quiet backwater of the web—my website usually receives between 5 and 20 visits a day, most of them probably from myself—when all of a sudden, 250 clicks turn up at once. I blame a stray reader with a massive Twitter following. My five minutes of fame. Back to normal tomorrow I hope.

Ramadan Mubarak everyone. May Allah purify us, forgive us and make us better people. Remember us in your prayers.

Pointing fingers

Another day and another tale of a family in disarray as sisters, wives, daughters, sons make the journey to their new utopia in the heart of Syria, apparently oblivious to the millions of refugees who have fled the country with their lives.

Back home, meanwhile, the local community expresses shock and surprise. Imams insist: not our fault, these people are being radicalised online. This is called having your head stuck in sand.

If our mosques provided services for women and young people, delivered relevant sermons in a common language, put aside ridiculous sectarian and tribal squabbles, I am pretty sure many of these people would not seek out alternative guidance online.

It is a tragedy, of course, but the online world is simply filling a gap. You don’t get to choose how people fill the void you leave wide open.

The pathway of faith

When we are young, we seek instant gratification and easy answers. Once upon a time, a four-page pamphlet may have requited us. An article published on a website, clothed in pseudo-intellectual phraseology may have been particularly convincing. A naive belief in the truthfulness of friends and the deceit of foes may have suppressed those inner interrogations. And when there were no answers to our questions, we were likely to throw a wobbly, demanding a precipitous riposte from our companions. Continue reading The pathway of faith

Dear Celebrity Reformer

You probably don’t remember me, but you took me under your wing in the late evening of the day I uttered my testimony of faith. You wanted me to embrace what you now rebuff as Islamism; I wasn’t interested (few of us were, but we were polite enough not to deeply trouble you). I had just embraced the oneness of God. Indeed, I had just acknowledged the existence of God. I had just set out on the road of faith; to you it was all about ideology and neo-imperialism. We were singing from different hymn books, so to speak. Continue reading Dear Celebrity Reformer