Friday, February 17, 2012

2nd 23

In the past year, there is one song that I kept on replay every time I am happy, and especially when I am sad (also when I am angry). It is my go-to song when swirls of emotion take hostage of me. The song is called “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. I am not suicidal, but the lyrics are too beautiful to not be poignant to a sensitive soul.

As I turn a year older, it cannot be helped for me to think of the fact that death is near. Sure, we hear older folks verbalize their anxiety over death, but how many people of my generation have death at the back of their mind? More importantly, how many of us entertain the idea of a young friend or family member passing? How would we feel if someone close to us dies an untimely death? How many regrets would we have?

“A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I’ll sell them for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I’ve been singing
Funny, when you’re dead how people start listening,”

Growing up, I have a lot of self-doubt. Not a lot of people believe me when I say so. Where do you think my courage to tread the unknown comes from? But that is where the problem lies; I was brave enough to take a small step, never gallant enough to fully plunge into the abyss. Part of that equation is the faceless figure sitting on my shoulder that keeps whispering, “You’re not good enough. You’re a child! How can a young person have an idea worthy of the world?” My drive to prove them wrong is strong, yet the grip of this figure is stronger, pulling me back every time. So I kept telling myself, “One day . . . one day when I’m gone maybe then they’ll start listening.”

Today, a day after my 23rd birthday, something amazing happened—something that I can only call a miracle by its magnitude. Today, after 23 years of living my life on earth, I finally find out that I AM WORTH IT. Indeed, it is pathetic for me to feel this way after all I have accomplished, but this time it is different. I put my entire life, passion, love, intellect, and honor code into the universe, whilst praying a meteor would not hit me back in the face. Today I found out that I do not need to wait till the day I die to know that there are people out there willing to listen.

Thank You, God, for the greatest birthday present yet.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Blue, green, or red?

I am not going to claim absolute knowledge on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am neither a scholar nor an activist. What I am is a person who thirsts for the truth. More than that, I am someone who longs for peace, in accordance with the definition of my faith, my religion. Thus, I am here not to defend or to accuse, but simply to ask.

As I have always stated, I am not a scholar of Islam. But I do have ample knowledge on the history of the region and of the conflict. So if I am in the wrong, please someone do correct me: the third holiest site to Sunni Muslims after the cities of Mecca and Medina is Jerusalem, and not the region called Palestine, correct?

Jerusalem has tremendous religious significance to Muslims no less for its role in the Prophet (pbuh)’s ascendancy to heaven and for the fact that it was the first Qibla and the second house of prayer built, but also because we share historical importance of Haram ash-Sharif (or the Temple Mount) with the Jews. The kings and the prophets that lived before—Daud, Sulaiman, and Isa among others—centered their message of revelation in palaces and courts in Jerusalem, not Palestine.  Simply put, other parts of what is today the State of Israel, from Haifa to Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva, are not religiously important to Muslims.

Nonetheless, there are understandably tangible grievances held by Palestinians—Christians and Muslims alike—for they were literally thrown out of their homes when Ashkenazi Jews bought lands in the territory. For that, we should certainly continue to seek restitution.

A two-state solution that addresses these issues, where Palestinians have the right to either govern their own country and/or have the right to return and live harmoniously under Israeli laws if they choose to do so, should be supported as long as the city of Jerusalem remains free and open to Muslims all over to visit and worship especially at Masjid al-Aqsa.

Jerusalem is holy, but Islam is peace.

If the Prophet (pbuh) can return insults with tolerance, why do we, sinful beings, resort to violence?


p/s: Do correct me if my understanding of history and Islam is marred by ignorance in this post.