Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dreaming of death before I was Muslim

Last night I dreamt that I died of a chest infection. I didn't go anywhere, I became a ghost. Some people could see me and I could talk to them. I explained that I could only stay until my funeral and then I had to leave, but I didn't know where I was going, I just had to go.

I felt so angry and powerless. I didn't want to be dead and I didn't want to leave my parents, I didn't want them to have to bury me.

My corpse was placed in my bed (not my bed in real life, my bed in the dream). I wanted to slap it, to shake it, I was so angry! How could I die of something like a chest infection? I am strong, I enjoy good health, why did this happen?

I woke up crying and this woke my husband. I explained the dream to him. He reassured and me and reminded me that Muslims don't fear death.

I thought about this and said "I think I was younger in this dream, I don't think I was Muslim then".

Just like when I was vegan, I had dreams where I ate chocolate (of the non-vegan variety). I still have dreams where I'm not Muslim. I don't know if this is a weakness in my faith, or just my brain processing memories from my pre-Muslim life. Certainly, Alhamdulilah, I'm always mindful and grateful to be Muslim in my waking life.

Indeed, one of the best things about being Muslim, is the certainty about death and dying.

There is a hadith about not sharing bad dreams, but this dream is a reminder to me. In Islam, like in many other religions and spiritual traditions, there is an emphasis on reflecting upon death every day. This sounds gloomy but I feel that only from awareness of death can we really appreciate life.

Ya Allah, Alhamdulilah for every heartbeat, for every breath in my lungs. The efforts my body makes without me even realising. Ya Allah, I may not ever be your most pious servant, but help me to always be a grateful one. Ameen.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Best Headline I've seen in ages- Update*

From the BBC New website:

EU snaps up Gaza croc woman

Customs officers (from the EU border assistance mission) at the Egypt/Gaza border found a lady with three crocodiles taped under her dress, which she intended to sell to Gaza Zoo.

* Just to point out,I love pun laden headlines, that play on words. My previous favourite was "Super Callie go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious", which was about the lowly football team. Caledonian Thistle thrashing Celtic.

So it's the pun I was laughing at, not some poor woman having to smuggle crocodiles for a living, or indeed at the poor crocs themselves.

P.S Crocs is a nice word, don't you think?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Everybody is a VIP to Somebody

I saw this photograph on El Blogador.

The impact of the photo is not immediate. At first glance, it is a coffin being carried. Then framed between two pallbearers, there is the face of a little boy. His anguish and devastation an absolute contrast to the stoicism of the men.

Watching the news, it would seem that life is very cheap. Today saw corpses being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu and burned. In the past four days, at least 174 people have died in three separate accidents in Russia, all of which can be largely attributed to putting financial profit before human safety. Everyday, people are killed in Iraq in a violence so incessant, you wonder if some cities will soon have no one left alive. These are just examples.

There are many people experiencing the same pain as this little boy every day. Life may be cheap, but the cost of killing is incalculable

The photograph was taken by Alan Lewis at the funeral of an RUC officer killed in 1997.
It is part of the "Out of the Darkness" exhibition currently on show at the Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast.
For more pictures from the exhibition click here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Introducing Mr Outlines.....

.........or rather his blog which can be found here.

He's the only person in my offline life who knows about my blog. I didn't tell him about it until after we were married. It felt like a big thing to tell him. I remember I sat him down in front of the computer and told him in the space of one breath. Not everyone gets the point of blogging. Luckily he was completely unperturbed and became increasingly fascinated by it.

When we were setting up the blog, we discussed whether he wanted it to be an anonymous blog. At first he didn't see the point, but I felt it's better to start off anonymous and then decide to share your details, then the other way around, so he's vaguely anonymous for now.

I'm almost obsessively guarded about revealing any personal details. On his blog he's put the country we live in. That probably comes a no surprise to any regular reader of this blog, but it still felt like a major confession to me. Strangely, I find it easier to talk about myself when commenting on other blogs, maybe because then it feels more like a conversation rather then me baldly stating things.

Maybe one day, I'll want to say this is me and give all the details. I'm not ashamed of anything I've written here (except the typographical errors), I would say it all in person.

For now though, anonymity is the situation. It feels more comfortable this way.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Plea to the Polyglots

I am learning Arabic. It is a very slow process, as you can imagine. Alahmdulilah, Mr Outlines is an experienced and very patient teacher, Masha Allah.

Unfortunately, I have a really big weakness: memorising vocabulary. Remembering grammar rules is not a problem, but vocab is not so easy.

So I turn to you, readers, especially since (according to stats and blogroll)a lot of are you are bilingual, if not multi-lingual, Masha Allah.

All advice/learning tips gratefully received and I will let you know how I get on.