Monday, July 1, 2013
Visiting Dubai is a stoic experience. The city is a refuge for anyone who crosses a barren desert and longs for salvation and finds a world of enchantment. What have come to be known as the Emirates-a triumvirate of countries in the Arab world that have risen as a global leader in economics, industry and aviation and of course, tourism, Dubai defies the bounds of human ingenuity. The modern skyline of Dubai is an impressive feat. A city that twinkles in the eye of anyone who craves for fertile land amidst a desert valley and reaches Dubai to be enthralled by its splendor and beauty can be likened to the plot of the Lost Horizon. It was a thrill to visit Dubai and behold its glorious claim on civilization. A truly unique city, this testament to modernity or rising new capital is a wonder akin to Babylon. A paradise or modern utopia, this glorious hub of modernity stands tall, made famous by its tallest building, the Burj Khalifa that appears in exploits of famous movie heroes like Tom Cruise, this golden chalice studded with rubies and filled with sparkling water is a King's goblet. I loved this city and its charm and affluence, the Dubai Mall that offers an endless array of shops and modern galleries, and of course, its diverse cultures and people make this city a truly memorable destination. The air is warm, and you can ride Dubai like a wave connecting to a wide array of destinations in a modern metro and interact with anyone in English and everyone is willing to help and surprisingly speaks English perfectly makes the city a perfect resort for a US traveler. A gateway to the East, Dubai is a perfect destination or holiday and it is exhilarating to a enter a world that lifts the veil like a bridegroom on a wedding night revealing the fair face of the Arab world is a mystical experience. Like some testament of a king to a forbidden love, Dubai sits like a pearl in an oyster in a vast ocean, in the middle of a wide and expansive gulf, untouched and immaculate, so that the heart yearns to return again and again to Dubai is a true mark of its splendor.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
When you lose something, it always makes you feel bad. You can never be happy to lose anything, otherwise it wouldn't be lost. Losing something signifies a loss of value. This may mean a lost watch, or a lost wallet or it could be smaller items like a lost phone, lost keys or a lost pen. Whatever it is, you will always feel bad for losing it. You are bereft by the loss and may go back to search for the lost item that could be found but may look to no avail. The lost object may have sentimental value. What does it mean to lose something forever? Does it mean that we will feel the loss for the rest of our lifetime, or will the feeling wear off after a significant amount of time has passed. Likely, we will overcome the loss through time. We will forget but remember that lost thing that was never found but we are now able to cope with the loss. Why is it so? Whence the object that was lost at one time was more precious than ourselves or meant more to us than anything. The lost earring that was passed down for generations that we could never think of being without it or those lost memories. Are we diminished when we lose something or does the loss affect our lives indefinitely. Loss can make us depressed and feel worthless. We seek refuge or consolation in the other things we own. It may be a trivial loss but the impact can be measured in many ways. Like losing the ticket on the way to the train to visit a friend may be frustrating but a redeemable loss. There will be other dates when we can visit our friend but the loss is immediate and sudden. Thus, we may feel redeemed to visit the friend at some future time, and the previous loss is a trifling matter. It seems that time ultimately restores our loss and we are able to overcome its privation. Thus, we can regain our sense of entitlement and ownership. The lost objects are returned to us not by chance or by an immediate disclosure or recovery but preserving or resisting the loss to feel redeemed. A lost and found may return our losses to us but does not adequately challenge us to accept time as master. For something that relies on chance does not reinstate our free will to overcome a predestined outcome. For time is a healing agent, a matter of substance and quality that gives us back our dignity and self-worth. We are vindicated by the passage of time to recover that which was lost by virtue of our free will, that supernatural quality that makes us unique to God. For the loss applied to material objects such as a loved one, a spouse, a mother, a child, a pet or grandparent is just as hard-felt as any such immaterial object of great importance or value. But we cope with the loss and are healed by the passage of time and in the spirit of time passing, that makes our material existence possible. Losing something forever does not mean we cannot regain that which is lost by the virtue divine providence. Thus we may grieve for a time only that which is lost at the present moment but not indefinitely.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The fast or the period of cleanliness and piety and abstinence from food, begins at the outset of the day when we open our fast. We realize that there is a certain order to the day of fasting and it starts with the morning worship. We can discern how much to consume in the morning when we open our fast since our bodies tell us when to stop eating and to avoid eating too much to overcome the fast. Thus, when we open our fast, it is important to realize that the fast is commensurate to our physical and bodily requirements. We should resist the urge to overeat since the body speaks to us to let us know that we are exceeding our prescribed amount.
Throughout the day, it is absolutely important to avoid cursing, fighting, arguing, bickering and if necessary avoiding people who may irritate you or annoy you for your fast to be holy and pure. Worship and prayer is an important part of the day and excessive TV, Internet or entertainment should be avoided for the simple reason that these are uncensored and may desecrate our fast unwittingly.
Try to find your center and the fast can be very enlightening. You will feel very close to God and immediately, feel a renewed sense of commitment to priorities in your life – the people you care about, dispel vanities and vices and bring us back to the basic principles of life and humble ourselves before God.
Besides that, one also learns greater responsibility – that the fast requires us to pay attention to our daily needs, that include eating and breaking our fast on time, spending our day in a constructive way, being clean and practicing good hygiene and reflecting on God to make our time on earth more meaningful. We should also pay attention to how we conduct ourselves on a social, economic and political level that the fast permeates with its clarity and righteousness.
When we break our fast, we should observe humbleness and piety and consume either a date or drink water that helps know the value of fasting and the expiation of hunger. It’s akin to a three-course meal – we can open the fast with an appetizer and after completing prayer, we can proceed to a second course and finally a sensible main course that our bodies can adjust to the lengthy period of fasting and abstinence. Thus, we exorcise the ravenous wolf that speaks to our souls.
These are some observations that I think can help people who are fasting and that extends to the rest of their lives beyond the period of Ramadan. I hope your fast is blessed and brings you closer to God.