Loneliness of separation

The single most necessary thing required for the survival of the human heart is love.  Without it we cannot survive.  We crave the love of another person for the same reason that we crave food, water and sleep.  Just as we cannot last long without food and water… so it is also that we cannot last long without the warming sustenance of love before our soul begins to perish and we slowly and painfully begin to decay from the inside out. Just as the human mind begins to fall into delirium as it longs for the calm of sleep … so too does it begin to fall into a state of madness and despair when deprived of love’s soothing reassurances.  To be a woman devoid of love is to be non existent in this life, nothing more than a ghost. I am a ghost. I am non existent. My name Nobody, Daughter of Nobody.

A lifetime without Love is of no meaning. Love is the Water of Life … Drink it down with your heart and soul!
Know that all but the lovers are fish without water, dead as desiccated… though they be even the highest viziers
(Mathnawi 1:1909-10)

The tragedy of human’s existence in this dunya is separation. Before we were even conceived in the womb of our mothers we were once united in the endless Unseen Ocean of the Divine. But now, the tiny drop of my existence has fallen into the barren desert of this illusionary world, apart from the waters which gave me life. As long as my soul is separated from its true companion, my life is as false and meaningless as the ornaments this dunya.

In this fleeting life I am constantly overcome by such intense feelings of depression and anxiety. When I was lost and suspended in the Ocean, I was limitless. Now separated and free, I am so limited, so insignificant — For when the drop of my existence is no longer a part of the vast Ocean — I can so easily be wiped out. One single tiny drop can so easily be evaporated by the heat of the sun or dried out by an arid wind. My life in exile and separation is teetering on the very edge of complete annihilation … and this awful fear is the root of my chonic anxiety.

I am a free woman bound by these chains of exile searching endlessly for a means to find my way back home, to You. Waiting desperately for a light to lead my way. Wondering if we will be together soon? Until when can I bear the weight of this agony? Until when can I bear this separation? Or will I spend my days wandering this dunya as a vagabond seeking in vain until the desert turns my bones back into dust???

Lord, please help me to find my way through this mortal world. I know that all pain and suffering is but a test for the believers and so I gladly accept any burden you may place upon my heart without asking the question: “Why?” For I know that the plan you have designed is far too grand for my mind– limited by the flaws of mortal reason– to ever comprehend in this lifetime. But I trust in you. And Lord, please help me to empty my heart of the false and temporary comforts of this fleeting world so that I may begin to fill instead it with Grace and Nour, inshallah.

Dear God, please have mercy on me I beg.Give strength to my weary heart and heal my broken soul. Amen.

-Shams Al Ghayeb


Some Song or Something …

The birdsong brings relief

to my longing.

I am just as ecstatic as they are,

but with nothing to say.

Please, universal soul, practice

some song, or something, through me.

My Name is Palestine.

You don’t have to be Palestinian to decide not to turn a blind eye to Israel’s wrongful actions. Israel drops 1000s of bombs on 1.7 million people in a densely populated open-air prison, then tells the world the victims hide behind Hamas. Don’t confuse facts with fantasy.
Zionists use WWII as a “get out of jail free card” and take advantage of the fact that after what happened to the Jewish people no one wants to speak against a Jewish state for fear or being accused of anti-Semitism. Then they turn around and commit gross violations of human rights against others. It’s so shameful.
If you call yourself Jewish, then you should stand up for your religion before some rogue government that has nothing to do with Judaism anymore than the N.O.I. and Hamas have to do with Islam. Don’t forget, that according to the Torah, Jewish people have been forsworn by God
“not to enter the Holy Land as a body before the predestined time”, “not to rebel against the nations”, not to do anything against the will of any nation or its honor, not to seek vengeance, discord, restitution or compensation; “not to leave exile ahead of time.”
On the contrary; the Jewish people are taught to be humble and accept the yoke of exile. According to the Torah; the result of violating these oaths is that
“your flesh will be made prey as the deer and the antelope in the forest,” and the redemption will be delayed. (Talmud Tractate Ksubos 111).
To violate the oaths is not only a sin, it is a heresy because it is against the fundamentals of Jewish belief.
True Judaism REJECTS Zionism.
If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.  (Malcom X)
I pray, O God! That you may guide us through these times of darkness, chaos and unrest.  Please bestow peace upon us all: Jew, Christian and Muslim alike.  Inshallah.
-Shams Al Ghayeb

The Blink of an Eye


The only way to conceive of the tragedy that surrounds us in this world is to understand that this dunya (this mortal life) is like a dream … and all that really matters about that dream is what state we are in when we wake up. The time spent in this dream is like the blink of an eye.

Where did I come from and what am I supposed to do here? My soul is from elsewhere, of that I am sure… And I intend to end up there

Meanwhile I am like a bird from another continent, sitting here in this aviary… The day is soon coming when I will fly off

– Jalaluddin Rumi

Today I found myself stressing out over a crystal ornament that had been broken.  I came home from work and found it shattered into pieces on the coffee table.  As I sat down and as I felt tears welling up in my eyes my son came in and apologized for breaking it and then asked me why I was so sad.  I looked at him, thankful that he had not cut himself on the shards …. and as I prepared to respond, I realized that I had no answer.   It wasn’t a memorable keepsake from my travels or a handmade gift or family heirloom with any sentimental value?  It was just a trinket… albeit an expensive one… But still just a trinket, and nothing more.

I often find myself blinded by the glitter and sparkle of this dunya and find that I can not see what is really important.  We spend all of our waking time chasing after expensive toys,  cars, money, social status ….  Without realizing that it is all in vain.  All of these things disappear after we die.  And what stays with us?  The intentions we hold in our hearts and the deeds we have done,, good or bad.

God willing, I am able to focus less on improving my status and comfort in this Dunya and instead focus more on improving myself and building in preparation for the Akhirah (the hereafter) because no amount of glitter can substitute for feeling the Nour (the true radiant light) of our God shining upon my face when I depart this world.   And unlike glitter, Nour does not blind … it illuminates all.

Our time spent here wandering this Dunya is so short in comparison with what is to follow.  As inhabitants of this world we are as significant and insignificant as a teardrop falling into the vast ocean. This life is nothing but fleeting and transient — merely a ladder towards the next world…. I will never get anywhere if i continue to desperately cling to each rung along the way.  When will I learn to simply let go… and ascend?

Woe to every scorner and mocker

who collects wealth and continuously  counts it

For he thinks his possessions will make him immortal.

-Surat al Humazah

May the Peace, Blessings and Mercy of God be with us all and His Light Illuminate our lowly existence. God Willing.

-Shams Al Ghayeb

When The Sun Crumbles

Today,  May 15th,  2012 commemorates the 65th anniversary of the Palestinian Youm al -Nakba or “Day of Catastrophe”

Under the yoke of our mornings, the sun crumbles
and in the darkness of our steps, our panting breath is on fire
these incomplete homelands, in which we we appear to be
nothing more than prisoners of war

-Ibrahim Nasrallah

On May 14th, 1948 following the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly the state of Israel was founded.  The next day, May 15th, 1948 neighboring Arab states invaded in support of the thousands of Palestinian families that Israel began displacing.

During the 1948 War, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled and hundreds of Palestinian villages were depopulated and destroyed.The vast majority of Palestinian refugees, both those outside the 1949 armistice lines at the war’s conclusion and those internally displaced, were barred by the newly declared state of Israel from returning to their homes or reclaiming their property.

These refugees and their descendants number several million people today dispersed between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab States, Europe and the United States … with at least another quarter million displaced within Israel.

We did not weep when we were leaving —

for we had neither time nor tears, and there was no farewell.

We did not know at the moment of parting that it was a parting,

so where would our weeping come from?

We did not stay awake all night (and did not doze) the night of out leaving.

That night we had neither night nor light, and no moon rose.

That night we lost our star, our lamp misled us;

We did not receive our share of sleeplessness —

so where would our wakefulness have come from?

-Taha Mohammad Ali

These sons and daughters of the Palestinian diaspora maintain that they have the right to return to their homeland and reclaim the land and homes of their ancestors.  The land that their forefathers have cultivated since the dawn of time.

With loud voices we will return to Palestine, so that the villagers will feel that I am alive.

And if I am martyred before my return, I will sing this same song from my grave.

-Sahar Sablani

For those of you who would support Israel — I ask you:  Do you value your freedom?  What if that freedom was suddenly snatched from you?

Many Americans and Christians who do recognize the injustice being carried out by Israel feel hesitant or constrained from speaking out against the rouge state for two reasons– the first being that they feel the Jewish people were owed a state because of their history of suffering… and the second being that they feel a responsibility for having caused that suffering.  Indeed I too sympathize with victims of the Holocaust, I too cried when I read the accounts of Jews being herded up, tortured and killed by the Nazis.  But how does this justify them committing the same crimes against another?  Verily, the oppressed has become the oppressor. Sure, the Palestinians are not being thrown in chambers and gassed, but they might as well be — the intention of ethnic cleansing is the same no matter how it is carried out or in whose name it is done.   The Jewish Holocaust lasted 7 years … Israel’s rape of Palestine has gone on for 65 years and counting … So what will the Palestinians be owed in retribution when their holocaust is over ?

Since May 1948 Israel has exiled the Palestinian community, seized their land and assets, destroyed homes, razed farms, uprooted generations old groves of olive trees,  prevented them from working or traveling freely and each year detain thousands of men and women — most without formal charges– and often these prisoners are forced to suffer grave humiliation at the hands of Israeli soldiers.  Perhaps you remember the story of Eden Aberjil — the Israeli soldier who posted pictures of herself smiling and posing with blindfolded and bound Palestinian prisoners on Facebook — then again perhaps, more than likely you do not.  That is the sad truth about the media in America, it allows us to live in a cloud of fantasy and oblivion.  Ignorance is bliss and apparently we truly love this…

It is also worth mentioning that more than 200 Palestinian detainees have died in Israeli prisons since 1967 due to extreme torture and medical neglect in addition to those who were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers while in custody.

Anas Ibn Malik narrated,

The Messenger of God said: “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed one.”  People asked the Messenger, “It is right to help him if he is oppressed, but why should we help him if he is an oppressor?”  The Messenger replied, “By preventing him from oppressing others.”

-Sahih Al-Bukhari

We are all Palestinian. We will stand united. We will return. We will never forget.

Let it be known that time is really just two days — a day in your favor … and a day against.  If it is your day, do not squander it.  And if the day is against you, just remain patient.

-Ali Ibn Abi Talib

O God,  you are our only refuge in this troubled world and verily you are with the oppressed.  Let their tears become swords against the oppressors,  for You are the only Giver of Victory !  Help us to remain strong and steadfast, in your name alone we pray.  Amen.

-Shams Al-Ghayeb

Breaking Of The Shell

I recently made a decision that was a major life change for me and for my family.  Since I have decided to walk down this road it has been anything but smooth and the first month of the change was extremely hard on me… but it is getting easier the further along I go.  I have been beating myself up thinking that I made the wrong choice and wishing I could go back and change things back to the way they were.  But whats done is done and the past is already water under the bridge.

A big part of learning from mistakes is learning to trust our instincts, because when we make the big mistakes there’s almost always a little voice inside saying, “This is not a good idea.”  But our nafs (our lower self, our desires) causes us to ignore that voice. So we need to learn to trust that inner voice of truth and fitrah.

A person asked the Messenger of God  “What is faith?” He said:

“When a good deed becomes a source of pleasure for you and an evil deed becomes a source of disgust for you, then you are a believer.”

He then asked the Messenger “What is a sin?” Whereupon the Messenger said:

“When something pricks your conscience, give it up.”


Besides what we take from prayer and the teaching of the prophets, our consciences are meant to serve as very effective guides — If only we can learn to listen to them!  Even so, as this is true we should not in consequence, however, blame and beat ourselves up too much for making mistakes. Khalil Gibran wrote:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

The aftermath of our mistakes may hurt us– but they are crucial to our growth and this learning process builds us up making us smarter, wiser, and stronger… and more sincere. That’s how we manage to do better next time.

In retrospect, do I think that I followed my conscience and made the right  choice? Yes.  Did I do it in the  right way?  Perhaps not.  I think I was a little bit too impulsive and should have waited a little bit longer and pre-planned a little better.  But for now– my son is happy… my father is proud of me… and I feel better about myself– and these things are what ultimately counts the most.

Good character is doing what you don’t want to do, but know you should

-Joyce Meyer

I believe that I will be fine and all will be as it should.

Stop dwelling in the past… Instead of blaming ourselves endlessly for the mistakes we have already made and cannot change — we must use what we’ve learned to build something good and bright now for today and for the future… God willing.

-Shams Al Ghayeb

Be Emptier And Cry Like Reeds Cry …

Today is a day of International Action for Palestinian Prisoner’s Hunger Strike.  For those of you who don’t know, here are the numbers:

Bilal Thiab … 77 Days
Thaer Halahleh … 75 Days
Hassan Safadi … 71 Days …
Omar Abu Shallal … 69 Days
Mohammedd Al-Taj … 61 Days
Mahmoud Sarsak … 55 Days
Faris Al-Natur … 48 Days

What is the cause? Thousands of Palestinians are wrongfully torn from their families and detained in Israeli prisons each year, most being held without any formal charges.  Their big crime — being Palestinian.  All they are asking for is their basic rights as prisoners of war, visitation rights, the right of education and other rights that are declared by international law.  Rights that have been emphatically denied by the Israeli government.

The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs received a letter from hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Thaer Halahleh addressed to his two year old daughter Lamar, most likely received and passed on by a lawyer from the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association “Al Dhameer”  from a recent visit to the Ramleh prison hospital.

Thaer Halahleh, who is on day 75 of his hunger strike, is being detained without charges and the Israeli authorities refuse to disclose any information regarding his case to anyone–including Halahleh and his lawyer.  Halahleh is the father of a beautiful two-year old girl named Lamar.  When he was arrested back in 2010 his wife Shireen was seven months pregnant.  Lamar was born while her father was in prison and has never seen her father.  She knows him only from pictures and press posters.  She sleeps with a photo of him underneath her pillow every night.

Thaer is currently hospitalized at Ramleh Prison and at risk of going into cardiac arrest any day.

Below is Thaer’s letter, translated by Jalal Najjar:

“My Beloved Lamar, forgive me because the occupation took me away from you, and took away from me the pleasure of witnessing my firstborn child that I have always prayed to God to see, to kiss, to be happy with. It is not your fault; this is our destiny as Palestinian people to have our lives and the lives of our children taken away from us, to be apart from each other and to have a miserable life. Nothing is complete in our lives because of this unjust occupation that is lurking on every corner of our lives turning it into eeriness, a continuous pursuit and torture. Despite the fact that I was deprived from holding you and hearing your voice, from watching you grow up and move around in the house and in your bed, and that I was deprived of my role as a human and a father with my daughter, your existence has given me all the power and hope, and when I saw your picture with your mother in the sit-in tent, you were so calm staring in wonder at people, as if you were looking for your father, looking at my pictures that are hung inside the tent asking in silence why is my father not coming back. I felt that you are with me, in my sentiment and inside my mind, as if you are a part of my heartbeats, steadfast and the blood that flows in my veins, opening all doors for me spreading clear skies around me, and unleashing your free childish voice after this long silence.”

“Lamar my love: I know that you are not to be blamed and that you don’t yet understand why your father is going through this battle of hunger strike for the 75th day, but when you grow up you will understand that the battle of freedom is the battle of going back to you, so that I can never be taken away from you again or to be deprived of your smile or seeing you, so that the occupier will never kidnap me again from you.”

“When you grow up you will understand how injustice was brought upon your father and upon thousands of Palestinians whom the occupation has put in prisons and jail cells, shattering their lives and future for no reason other then their pursuit of freedom, dignity and independence. You will know that your father did not tolerate injustice and submission, and that he would never accept insult and compromise, and that he is going through a hunger strike to protest against the Jewish state that wants to turn us into humiliated slaves without any rights or patriotic dignity.”

“My beloved Lamar keep your head up always and be proud of your father, and thank everyone who supported me, who supported the prisoners in their struggle, and don’t be afraid for God is with us always, and God never lets down people who have faith and patience. We are righteous, and right will always prevail against injustice and wrong doers.”

“Lamar my love: that day will come, and I will make it up to you for everything, and tell you the whole story, and your days that will follow will be more beautiful, so let your days pass now and wear your prettiest clothes, run and then run again in the gardens of your long life, go forward and forward for nothing is behind you but the past, and this is your voice I hear all the time as a melody of freedom”.

You don’t have to be Palestinian to read this letter and weep … just human.  You don’t have to be Muslim to support their cause … remember Palestinians are Muslims and Christians alike … The rouge state of Israel has been committing gross injustices against human rights of all non-Jews since its founding 64 years ago today on May 14th, 1948.  No matter what they will have the Western media believe and propagate– they are not defending themselves from terrorism — they are the terrorists.  They are the looming threat to world peace.

If you believe that you are too small to make a difference, then you have never spent the night with a mosquito

African Proverb

Okay, so a mosquito makes a difference in an annoying way –but the principle is the same:  One person can be a thorn in the side of injustice.  One person can be a voice for truth.  One person’s kindness can save a life.  One person matters.

Show your solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and their cause during their hunger strike today … even if it is something that seems small and insignificant … the smallest gesture can add up to make a huge difference for those who need it most.  You may not be able to single handedly over-throw Israeli corruption but showing where your support lies WILL make a difference.  The biggest barrier now is informing the Western public as there has been no major media coverage of this issue outside of the blogosphere.  Share Thaer’s letter, change your profile picture or simply post a status update to help open the eyes and hearts of the American public.  Some of the best advice my father ever gave me was to not ever let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.   Edmund Burke said:

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. 

If we all remain silent because we believe our voices are not loud enough to be heard then things will never change and the suffering that these prisoners  — have endured, the sacrifices that they have made … will have all been in vain.  There is no greater shame than that. Do not let their stories be in vain.  Help reunite two-year old Lamar with her loving father … Inshallah, God willing.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.

Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

O God!  Please grant us the strength to persevere and stand up and unite against what is wrong.   Please protect and keep under your cloak the families of those Palestinian men and women detained in Israeli prisons.

Please keeps the sons and daughters of Palestine in your thoughts and prayers, today and always.

وَالعَصرِِ إِنَّ الإِنسٰنَ لَفى خُسرٍ

إِلَّا الَّذينَ ءامَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَتَواصَوا بِالحَقِّ وَتَواصَوا بِالصَّبرِ

Verily man is in loss. Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience

Surat Al Asr

O God!  Please make right the affairs of the Palestinians.  O Lord, they are helpless — so help them.   Through their thirst pour upon them patience … Through their hunger make them steadfast and grant them victory over their enemies.  Plot for them and provide for them with what You please — for if You support them then no one can overpower them and if You forsake them– then who will be able to support them after You?


May the peace and blessings of God be upon us all in this time of darkness and trial.

-Shams Al Ghayeb.