June 5, 2018

It’s well after midnight and burning candles flicker in my dimly lit living room. Music hums quietly in the background, a love song carried through the vibrating cry of the reed flute. My head gently sways right to left to Oruç Güvenç’s sweet notes and we sit, me and my Beloved, at the table overlooking the night sky as London fades into a deep sleep. There’s a stillness outside and within. No words are spoken as I gaze at my… Read more

May 23, 2018

A chronic illness has prevented me from fasting for a number of years now. Initially I felt like I was missing out on Ramadan because I wasn’t doing it ‘properly’. I went to extremes – packing the month with extraordinary intentions to ‘make-up’ for not being able to fast. As the years pass I am learning how to experience Ramadan beyond the outer forms and cultivate a deeper appreciation for the essence of this blessed month. 1. Develop Gratitude Develop… Read more

April 9, 2018

What would life be like if you all you had ever eaten was dirt? That’s how a teacher of mine once explained the effect of social and cultural conditioning. “Imagine you’ve been eating mud from the time you were a baby. You wouldn’t want a carrot or an apple,” he said. Knowing the nutritional value of those fruits and vegetables wouldn’t be enough to change your diet, even if you had become ill as a result. In order to stop… Read more

April 5, 2018

Lately I’ve been having a funny mix-up: I keep opening the prayer app on my phone when I want to get directions. No doubt it has something to do with the fact that my Google maps app is right above the little minaret icon on my phone’s home screen. But somehow I think there is more to it than the errant tap of a finger. I’ve been looking at maps more often than usual because I’ve been traveling a lot… Read more

March 24, 2018

For many years starting at around the time of the 9-11 terror attacks, I referred to myself a “moderate Muslim.” I used the term on my Facebook profile and pronounced it if asked about my religious beliefs. The label was in many ways a reactive disclaimer to popular opinion about Muslims. It meant for me that I was raised in an Arab, Islamic household in the West, I rejected extremism and was tolerant of diversity and multiculturalism. I was an… Read more

March 9, 2018

Author: Bruce Miller Publisher: Miller eMedia What happens when a mercurial Englishman living in 1970’s California invites into his community of spiritual seekers a Turkish Muslim mystic? The answer can be found in this book. The Turkish mystic was one Suleyman Hayati Loras Dede, and the mercurial Englishman one Reshad Feild. The author, Bruce Miller, was an integral part of Feild’s community and the book begins with a brisk sketch of what they were up to before Dede’s arrival. We… Read more

February 9, 2018

I’d just finished getting my hair cut and styled at the one salon in London that specializes in curls only to walk out the door to find it was pouring rain. The nearest Tube station was shut that Saturday for engineering works, so I scurried down the side streets of the West London neighborhood to the closest alternative, about a 20-minute walk away. Determined to protect my neatly defined coils from unravelling into a mass of frizz, I huddled under… Read more

February 2, 2018

Patience has been on my mind a lot recently, perhaps because I realise it’s a virtue I need to cultivate. I often notice how I become impatient when I am thwarted, or even just momentarily distracted, in the midst of some task I feel is important. It goes hand-hand with a tunnel vision in which I am less present and open to what is being offered in the moment. The Oxford English Dictionary defines patience as: “The capacity to accept… Read more

January 17, 2018

The opening scenes of the film show men made of mud, their backs bowed under the weight of sacks. In his narration of these pictures taken of a gold mine in Brazil, the photographer says, “When I came upon this place, every hair on my body stood on end. It was as though I was seeing the entire history of mankind, from the building of the pyramids to the tower of Babel. There wasn’t the sound of a single machine… Read more

December 8, 2017

Huddled at the back, left-hand corner of a large hall, me and a handful of other women would gather to take part in the Islamic Friday prayer at our university in British Columbia the early 2000s. Meanwhile at the front of the room, where light streamed in from the windows, dozens of young men stood side-by-side in rows. We recited the same prayer, but the gap in our experience was far wider than the swath of carpet separating the masculine… Read more

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