Tolkien, Lewis, Orwell and Rowling

Four writers I regard as the best in my generation shared one thing in common. They viewed the world from my eyes. Sound strange doesn’t it? But not so much if you studied their characters carefully. These four esteemed writers believed and brought to life, in their books, noble characters who lived very ordinary lives that didn’t matter much for politicians, journalists, preachers or the so-called “upper-class nobility”. The Hobbits, the Mugbloods, the orphans, who dared to fight the power of evil all had humble beginnings and this is the important connection that means a lot to me, because I am from the common working class social category.

I used to think that writers sit down at a café with their “Apple” laptops and start firing away, playing with words like a Thesaurus was being revealed to them. I had the feeling that they “build” their story as they go on writing. This simple assumption might be the most important why most people never get to write a good book. At least seems that way to me. I did not understand the “thought” process that goes into weaving a good story. Writing is dam hard work. Its like a “pensieve” where one must fall into a world where characters unfold their stories and memories for the writer to glue them together into a nice package. Basically, writing a good book is HARD WORK.

Just to share an example, it took Tolkien 17 years to finish LOTR (Lord of the Rings)! He wrote his masterpiece “in between” work and family chores. Another great example, and my favorite one, is of JK Rowling, the charming writer who can throw spells on her readers from the moment they open the first chapter of her book. She was actually a single mother, bankrupt and on the verge of a mental breakdown. At possibly the worst moment of her life, she began to write Harry Potter series which eventually became the world’s best selling books with over 400 million copies sold world wide.

After reading Harry Potter, it dawned on me how much thought and effort goes into “imagination”. Of-course, words and prose are very nice to have, but that’s not the reason why readers fall in love with a story. A good story should have interesting plots, mysteries, adventure, humor, pain and excitement.

One more point, writers like Tolkien and Lewis read their stories to each other (the inkling club) where they challenged each other’s creativity, not their language, and that included books like LOTR and Chronicles of Narnia! Lewis didn’t think much about the Elves, while Tolkien was not too pleased about Lewis bringing Christianity directly. What I am trying to say is, lets instead ask the question, “can you think of a good story?”

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Connection Between Muslim Prayers and Olympic Gold

Let me restate my thoughts. Imagine you are Michael Phelps, the Olympian. You know your schedule, up at 6am everyday, hit the gym, do some hellish workout, and then in the pool, you must stretch the human limits of speed and endurance while in water. Now, you keep doing this day in day out. That’s all you’re doing , yeah, getting up early, exercising, pumping weights, swimming and eating well. After a while you might begin to think that this what it is, exercising and swimming, that is the purpose of your life, the reason for your existence and maybe at some point in time after doing this routine for months or even years, you begin to think that this is what Olympians do. They wake up early, exercise and swim or sprint or whatever, every single day. The objective you may begin to think for an Olympian Swimmer is to “Workout and practice” swimming.

You should be smiling at yourself if you really think that swimming practice is the objective. No. The Objective is to prepare for a day of competition against the world’s best swimmers. You need to think about this. Whenever you want to understand why Muslims pray, think about Michael Phelps and his training routines. He needs to be ready, mentally and physically, for that Big Day, and all his workouts, practices and trainings were designed to make him WIN.

What, prayers are exercises? No. They are part of the big training package which pushes the Believers to gear up for their Big Day. Every Muslim in this sense is an Olympian. He must get himself ready to compete and Win. It all boils down to preparation and training without which probability of winning diminishes pretty fast. 90% training and 10% performance.

You must be asking, what is the Big Day and what sort of competition is this? Let me tell you in a simple way. Every Believer should know that he is capable of doing great things and that is what his life is all about, doing great things. There is no in-significant life at all. Every life is as important as any other. Our work, money, car and other worldly materials are the insignificant things, but our LIVES are SUPREMELY IMPORTANT. Its like the life of a gold medalist Olympian. Imagine that, you are just as important and significant as Michael Phelps or the late Muhammad Ali!

Phelps trains to win gold at the pool. what are you training for? Your goal is to win the gold in the arena where the great battle between good and evil is taking place. To defeat the evil forces must be a darn hard job. That’s because Satan has at its disposal numerous men and women capable of destroying  countries if needed with the help of weapons manufactured for mass destruction of human civilization. Satan has worked hard to raise his army of monsters. It wont be easy to defeat them, no not at all. At least not without the proper strategy for winning.

Sounds difficult doesn’t it. But I have news for Muslim readers. This “job” of defeating Satan happens to rest upon the shoulders of all the Believers. Sorry, there is no way to avoid draft in this case. You Muslims have only one job, on target, and that is to defeat the army of Satan. Any Muslim who thinks otherwise, unfortunately, ends in the boiling pot.

So, you want to be ready for the Big Day. When will that be? I’m afraid that Day can be any day, it can even be today. Satan and his soldiers are waiting to ambush you any moment you let your guard down. They have their eyes on you like a CCTV. One opening and wham! they will get to you. If they can throw their curse at you when you have nothing to defend yourself with, the results will not be hard to guess.

That means you need to make yourself strong and able and alert at all times. You need practice. Training and hard work. You can only choose to avoid between the pain of training or the pain of loosing. Cant have both. To avoid the pain of loosing, you also need to be before sunrise, preferably by 5am and start your rigorous training routine. Tahajjud, Fajr, break, work, eat, Dhuhr, break, rest, work, Asr, Break, Magrib, break, dinner, Isha, sleep. This routine of Salah is the Training, the Exercise the Workout  designed to make you successful in defeating the Satan and his followers.

Muslim prayers basically intend to churn out soldiers of Faith whose sole duty rests on liberating mankind from the grip of the Dark Lord. Prayer is the secret weapon with which Goodness shall prevail over Evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Enemy No 1

Our enemy is at it every day, every moment, every chance he gets he uses with maximum impact. He never give up in his quest for spreading his evil thoughts and ideas to all of us innocent so-called “lambs”.
This enemy, as evil as he is, comes to me every day and does not leave me until somehow, by the blessings of angels, I fall asleep. I think that’s the only time this evil enemy leaves me alone, although I cant be completely sure of that. For now, lets assume that sleeping temporarily saves me and you from the enemy.

This evil thing makes sure that I think about situations that happened in the past, sometimes way back in the past, things which cant be changed anymore. Then am reminded about situations which never happened in reality. Conversations which never took place. I think about myself being in particularly embarrassing situations. I know I should have killed myself for saying or doing certain things in the past, but that is now a part of my history and no matter what I do I can never change that.

My sworn enemy shows how weak, stupid and unworthy I am of any kind of achievement. It asks, “who are you dude? what quality do you have to make things happen? why would anyone on earth be motivated to follow you? Come on, Wake up and smell the coffee.”

My enemy is wicked. He knows all my weak points. he uses them in all possible ways. He says to me, “look at you, what have you achieved in life? you are physically unfit, psychologically weak, mentally dumb, unintelligent, lazy, worthless piece of meat”. I feel he has his points well connected. He makes sense because there are examples in my life which endorse the above qualities.

This is the way my enemy no 1 wins over me. He wins when he makes me loose hope in myself. He wins when I begin to give up on my dreams. I loose all. He wins everything. In the end, he makes me think like a looser, like a lamb in a slaughter house. Now lets meet this evil enemy. It is ME. Yes, nobody else in the world tells me all these to my face but myself. The voice that speaks to me everyday, every free moment, its my own voice, my own thoughts.

The reason I cant move ahead and change myself is because of these voices that come from within me. I stay away from success because that stupid voice reminds me of failure as a rule in my life. I am a victim of my own designs. My own self made model of life has been structured on failure as an end result.

The good news is that I have another me, the one which is positively programmed to do great things in life. I wish I knew how to talk to myself…

Why cant we dream in Yemen?

Zain is from Yemen, the starting point of Arab civilization, the origin of Semitic peoples. I feel very lucky that Zain is still alive after the Saudi bombs destroyed his school and the lives of a dozen children all aged under 12. I am so glad Zain still has his nerves together after loosing his father, mother, brother and sister in another Saudi air raid just before Eid. Neighborhoods in Sada have basically turned into make shift open sky hospitals where mothers earned medical degrees overnight. Doctors with proper University degrees are either dead or imprisoned. So its now up to the newly qualified mothers to provide what Yemeni children need the most, a little bit of love and care after the after the horrors caused by Saudi bombings.

Zain talks world politics like a Senator. This is not due to his school, no, it’s because Zain and all the other kids are always faced with political questions at home, at school and in the playgrounds. The question is also almost always the same, which is, “Why are Saudis bombing Yemen”? Answers will also circle around a theme very common in Zain’s area. Kids know that Saudis cant really fight a real war on the ground, for if they did, every Yemeni youth would be firing slingshots enough to blind the attackers back to the other side of the border. That is why Saudis decided to not face real men on the ground.

As for Zain, he thinks Saudis are only doing what their friends in Tel Aviv advised them to do. They are only following friendly “orders”.

How is Yemen important to Israel? Well, Zain thinks its not so much about Yemen as such but its really about the rise of a revolutionary idea. What is that idea? Its this thing called “Hope”. See, Yemen, like so many other Muslim countries, wants to change the normal thought that nothing can be changed, that the status quo must always be maintained, that powerful people must not be challenged, that politics is not the agenda for common people, but now the Houthi movement wants to challenge all that. Houthis want to say that Change is possible and it can happen. Common people can choose to dream differently, to think of changing the society and say bye bye to state hypocrisy. This is Zain’s understanding as a 12 year old.

Zain’s thoughts strike so much similarity with people across the Muslim world that its difficult to whether Zain comes from Sada or Baghdad or Damascus or Cairo. The basic rule seems to be quite common amongst the rulers of the Muslim world. They survive on the pill that makes Muslims loose hope in their identity, history and above all they give up on their natural abilities to change their circumstances.

Why should it be like this? Why should Muslims feel hopeless in their own country? Zain stares at the sky asking whether it was another Saudi jet that he just saw flying over a minaret.

Zaidi book about Prayer (Salaat) and other Rituals

Zaydiyyah's Blog

Sources of Collected Rulings Pertaining to the Proofs of the Permissible and Prohibited:

The Book of Ritual Purity, The Book of Prayer, and the Book of Funeral Rites

By

Imam al-Mutawakkil ‗ala Allah Ahmed bin Sulaymān

CONTENTS:

(a) Translator’s Introduction.

(b) Author’s Biography.

(c) Content (summary) of the book.

(d) The Translation of the text:

Part 1:

The Book of Ritual Purity

Chapter 1A: Water:

Chapter 1B: Cleansing the Private Parts (Istinjā)

Chapter 1C: The Attributes of Purity and Its Obligations

Chapter 1D: Washing the Hands

Chapter 1E: Wiping the Head

Chapter 1F: Washing the Feet

Chapter 1G: What Obligates Ablution

Chapter 1H: Purification PART 2:

Part 2:

The Book of Prayer

Chapter 2A: Call to Prayer (al-adhān) and the Pre-Prayer Call (al-iqāma)

by Clean Earth (at-Tayammum)

Chapter 2B: Prayer Times

Chapter 2C: Combining the Prayers

Chapter 2D: The Characteristics of the…

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