“The Thief” (Story Dice Sundays)

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He didn’t see the first time the cane struck across his head, but he sure felt it. He turned just in time to see a shadow, an empty void cut out of the moon light, raise its hand again. Continue reading ““The Thief” (Story Dice Sundays)”

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20. “Clothes” (The Hajj Journal)

Me after umrah

September 16, 2015

I went back to wearing my Canadian attire. Jeans, cargo shorts, t-shirts, hat. I feel like I can just present myself as I am now. God doesn’t look at the clothes you wear, or the colour of your skin. He looks at your heart. You can have the nicest thaub with the most rotten heart; you can wear rags and have a heart of light. Perhaps my Umrah had something to do with that. Sheikh Tamir said something powerful: with ihram, you can have the nicest hair, but for a while, you have no hair at all. You can wear the nicest clothes, but for a while, you’re wearing the simplest and most humble clothes imaginable. Ihram puts everyone on the same level. It lowers you into that state to remind you that you are a servant. Continue reading “20. “Clothes” (The Hajj Journal)”

19. “The locus of humanity” (The Hajj Journal)

The Ka'bah in Mecca

September 15, 2015

When I woke up the morning after [Umrah], I was afraid to go outside. I was afraid of the crowd. But more than that, I was afraid that I would look at the Ka’ba with an empty heart.

[However,] I knew that sitting and stewing in my hotel was not only a waste of time, but wouldn’t help me find the answers or understanding I was seeking. So I got dressed and headed out. I went into the [Haram] and found a spot to pray… I felt like I was having a crisis of faith. After prayer, I walked over to the railings overlooking the Ka’ba (I was on the third floor). And this is what I saw: people. People moving steadily, as if the crowd was water, all at once fluid and solid. I continued walking around the second floor, the Ka’ba always on my left, like I was performing another Tawaf. And as I walked, I kept glancing to my left. It’s not like I was expecting it to be gone, but everytime I did, I could see it from a different angle. And always, always the people. Continue reading “19. “The locus of humanity” (The Hajj Journal)”

17. “Five-Star” (The Hajj Journal)

 The Abraj Al-Bait Towers (Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel) in Mecca

September 13, 2015

So here I am. In Mecca. Just a few moments away from seeing the Ka’bah and doing Umrah.

But first: dinner.

We’re staying at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. And I must say, this is probably the classiest and ritziest hotel I’ve ever been to.

I don’t really know how to feel about that.

I mean, on one hand, the presentation/décor is fantastic (and it’s great to be at a buffet where I can finally eat everything). On the other hand, is it excessive? Is it the kind of excess Islam condemns? Continue reading “17. “Five-Star” (The Hajj Journal)”

The Changebeast

Destroyed room

The calendar just rolled over into 2016, and with it comes a smattering of top 10 lists, New Year’s resolutions, and top 10 lists of New Year’s resolutions. But no matter what it is, a new year always means the same thing: change.

When we look back at the year that passed, we’ll see some form of change in our lives. It may not always be good change, either. It may be bad change, minor change, necessary change, the list goes on. But who we are today is different than who we were a year ago. And who we’ll be in a year will be different than who we are today. All of this can be traced to the changes that happen in our lives.

But here’s the obvious thing: change is frightening.

Sometimes, change is a looming cluster of ominous clouds in the distance, and you can’t tell if they’re going to bring nourishing rain or calamitous thunder. But more often than not, change is a big dumb animal that comes crashing into your house, messes up your stuff, then tosses on a pair of shades, says “deal with it”, and leaves—but not before taking a dump on your carpet. Continue reading “The Changebeast”