Thank you


 

Thank you

So, let me get this straight:

You tear my veil to free me

You jail me to rid me of my terror

You kill my beloved to liberate me

You shoot my baby to erase my misery

You starve me to show me how to vote

You threaten me to bring me to my senses

You wage war on me to help me find peace

You slay my people to teach me compassion

You humiliate me to aid me live with dignity

You insult me to illustrate freedom of speech

You crush my bones to save me from my evil

You demolish my home to elevate my morality

You uproot my tree to raise my ethical standard

You steal my resources to bring me social justice

You assassinate my leaders to train me into democracy

You bomb my town to bring me security

You destroy my history to educate me about progress

You dehumanise me to coach me into humanity

You wipe me out to push me to civilisation

 

Thank you sir

How can I -ever- pay you back?

08-10-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Stone the terrorist


 

Stone the terrorist

 

No one knows my real name

No one cared to ask

An alien entity… with lost identity

 

To some I’m the manifestation

Of the horror of the newspapers

The wicked one

 Plotting with the axis of evil

 

To others I’m the one

Who ascended from the past’s graveyard

To drag humanity to the age

 Of ignorance and darkness

 

In the eighties I was Khomeini

Then I became Qaddafi

In the nineties I was Saddam Hussein

Then I became Ben laden

Today I am Nasrullah… tomorrow who knows

 

But no one knows my real name

No one cared to ask

 

I am the suspect… the accused

The criminal… the illegal

The immoral… the uncivilised

The brainless…. the terrorist

The peace hater… the freedom loather

The democracy rejecter

To eliminate me is an honourable deed

For I am the human with no humanity

 

My crime is…

 Being

 

My sin is…

Believing

 

Do you know who am I?

 

I am a Palestinian Muslim

With a hijab on

 

05-05-2006

 

© Copyright 2006  Nahida Izzat    – All Rights Reserved 

 

When I said goodbye


DSCF0149

When I said goodbye

 

Unlike yourself

You were cold

When I kissed you goodbye

 

Unlike yourself

You didn’t hold me close

You didn’t even kiss me back

 

Unlike yourself

When I cried

You didn’t try to comfort me

 

Unlike yourself

You didn’t follow me with your eyes

As I was leaving… moving away

 

Unlike yourself

You didn’t ask me to join you

On this trip

 

Unlike yourself

You didn’t hold on to me

You departed alone

 

Unlike yourself

You didn’t keep your promise this time

Weyyak weyyak yellyrbeit ana weyyak

En ishna ishna sawa, wen muttana weyyak*

 

My grief… infinite

My sorrow…deep

My pain… unbearable

For the world to endure

So it crumbled before my eyes

When I said goodbye

 

 

* From a Palestinian folklore song that khaled used to sing to me, it means:

With you for ever,

We grew up together, sweetheart,

If we live we live together,

And if we die we die together

6-2-2006

 

© Copyright 2006  Nahida Izzat    – All Rights Reserved

Tell them


Tell them

  

Sweetheart

Did you hear the rumours?

People are whispering, they say:

Our love is a myth… a fairy tale

It can’t be real

Too good to be true

1926744_10204502631798691_5130501013836395018_n  

Sweetheart

People are talking, they say:

Something surreal has happened between these two

The fable of their love is legendary

Mighty death has failed to obliterate

Their everlasting union

 I am yours Don't give myself back to me

Sweetheart

People are mumbling, they say:

Love cannot survive marital ties

Nor the test of time

Love dies when you sign the papers

And as you say “… I do”

 Palestinian artist ..Yasser Abu Sido

Sweetheart

Tell them it’s not true

 

Sweetheart

Tell them

Hair may turn grey

But hearts never do

 10262109_708452059214402_4981024872283073228_n

Sweetheart

Tell them

Indeed… our life might be over

But our love is yet a seed

That only just began… to bloom

صور قلوب (166) 

27- 9- 2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Permanent


 

Permanent 

 

How can I erase you from my book of memories?

When you’ve been engraved

On every page

Imprinted on every line

Carved along with every word

 

How can I delete you from my system?

When you’ve been saved

In every folder

Formatted by every font

Pasted with every pixel

 

How can I sift you from my body?

When you’ve settled in every limb

Cloned with every breath

Occupied every cell

Combined with every molecule

 

How can I separate you from me?

When you’ve been weaved

With every thread of my being

Plaited with every fibre

Laced with every strand

 

How can I?

 

04-06-2006

 

 © Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Joy and sorrow


Joy and sorrow 

With your departure

A black hole carved into my heart

A monstrous oblivion

Consumed my whole being

My whole universe

 

In a glance

From behind the laptop screen

Your gentle eyes gazed at me

The gates of my soul flung open

A surge of memories flooded in

Filling my core with euphoria

Wave upon wave

Can you hear the hypnotic tune?

Our tears … our laughter

Our silence … our chatter

Our footsteps speeding to get to the top of the mountain

Before the twilight

The folklore songs you chanted as we toured the country side

The twinkle in our eyes as we giggled gazing fondly at each other

The nights we curled by the fire

Roasting marshmallows and sweet corn

The days we chased the rainbow

Discovering pots of gold

Dormant … deep in our hearts

Bonded souls in separate realms

Chant together Psalms of wisdom:

The more sorrow carves into your heart

The more joy it can contain

The higher up you fly with joy

The lower down you descend in pain

27-09-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Is it really cruel?


Is it really cruel? 

People say

What happened to you

Is so cruel… so unfair

To have to lose khaled

In such an awful way

When you are so much in love

 

I say it is very painful

But not at all cruel

Death is nothing

But a gate way

Everything dies

Everyone dies

Why should I

Be the exception?

 

His journey ended before mine

That’s all

And soon I’ll follow

 

It’s only a matter of time

Before we are together again

We come to life

Only for a while

 

Also… the law goes

The higher you fly up

The greater is your fall

 

The law goes

The more intensely you enjoy your love

The more painful is your sorrow

This only fair

For some live and die

Without experiencing real love

And I’ve experienced all

It’s not cruel to give something back

And to feel more pain

Is not unfair

 

27-03-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

NAHIDAANDK

All I want is


 

All I want is

One moment of madness

  

Would you forget me?

If I disappear from your life

You asked me once

 

Teasing you

I replied

With this memory of mine

There are no guarantees

I don’t trust it with anything

 

You know

I might know people for years

But when we meet in the street

My mind goes blank

I know that I know them

But that’s as far as it goes

 

Now

All I want is

 

One moment

Of forgetfulness

 

One moment

Of insanity

 

One moment

In which

I am

Not

Thinking

 

Of you

 

04-06-2006

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved 

 

Oh mighty Israhell


 

Oh mighty Israhell

With the mountains of lies you fabricate

Do you think you could

Secure a fear-free moment akin to my years?

No… you can’t

 

With the lavish wealth you generate

Do you think you could

Buy a few joyful days similar to mine

No… you can’t

 

With all the armed robberies you facilitate

Do you think you could

Steal one magnificent dream that I embrace?

No… you can’t

 

With the mighty power you accumulate

Do you think you could

Obtain a piece of peace that fills my soul?

No… you can’t

 

Oh poor mighty Israhell

What have you done?

Wake up… wake upwake up

 

Wait no longer… just … come running

Rinse your sins

Wash the blood off your hands

Repentant… and on your knees fall to the ground and… pray

 

Then… I promise

I’ll do what the prophet did

In your ear I’ll whisper

“Now I forgive you

You are free

The treasure I hold

I am willing to share”

 

22-05-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved 

Lovers don’t


 

Lovers don’t rape

Jerusalem

Sweet Jerusalem

What did they do to you!

Claiming your love

But cause you none

But sorrow and pain

 

Jerusalem

Sweet Jerusalem

I heard you crying that night

Your frail beautiful frame

Shaking… aching… diminishing…

Your sad eyes avoiding mine

 

Jerusalem

Sweet Jerusalem

I want to crawl towards you…

To kiss the aromatic scent

 Of your ancient alleyways

Fall on my knees… repenting…

At Damascus gate

 Howling

I failed you… I let you down

 

Jerusalem

Sweet Jerusalem

I want to embrace

That blue stripy dress of yours

 Burry my face… burry my shame

Weeping

Asking your forgiveness

I’ve witnessed the crime

 

Jerusalem

Sweet Jerusalem

I want to kneel down

Put my arms around you

Caress your weary brow

And murmur

Sorry my dearest

I am sorry sweetheart

 

Jerusalem

Sweet Jerusalem

I want to untangle your jet black hair

Comb your gorgeous curls

Adorn your plaits with rainbow ribbons

And whisper… habeebetee

 You look stunning today

Habeebetee… now show me

Your most charming… much missed smile

 

05-06-2006

 © Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

More sense to the senses


More sense to the senses

Copy of Picture 375aa  

I am fascinated by my hands

With, I carry my lavender basket

Stitch French knots and knit tiny socks

Write my poems and paint lilac twilights

But more enchanting

Caressing with 

The face of my beloved

And holding on my babe’s hand

 

I am fascinated by my ears

With, I hear birds singing

Enjoy melodic tunes

Learn new facts

Listen to fairytale stories

But more captivating

I hear with

My baby calling “mama”

And the tender heartbeat

Of the one I love

NAHIDAANDK

I am fascinated by my nose

With, I smell my favourite foods

Pineapple cake and ginger biscuit

Coffee, jasmine and lemon zest

Ocean waves and waterfalls

But more intriguing

The sweet scent of my twin-half

And the delicate fragrance

Of my newborn infant

photo2

 

I am fascinated by my eyes

With, I perceive the world in full colour

Beautiful butterflies

Flowers… trees… sky and stars

But more mesmerizing

The tears running down

Yearning for my soul mate

and gazing at my child sleeping

 


I am fascinated by my mouth

With, I taste delicious flavours

Tangy oranges… juicy mangos

Sweet strawberries

But more alluring

Kissing my baby’s feet

And whispering words like

“Sweetheart… I love you”

And

“Thank you God for all these things”

 IMG00060-20100928-1846a

 08-05-2006

 © Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

As a child


 

As a child 

Don’t ever lose your sense of wonder

Look as a child with eyes open wide

You will see

 

Marvel at every leaf you come by

As you hold between your fingers

 

Laugh with tantalizing raindrops

As they touch your beautiful face

 

Fill your soul with glee… delightful

As you run to meet the rainbow

 

Don’t ever lose your sense of wonder

Listen as child with attentive heart 

You will hear

 

Feel the awe as you’re filled with joy

While you sing your favourite tune

 

Swirl… twirls… jump… hop… and skip

As you chant with doves of love

 

Be amazed at the joyful breeze

Blowing through your dancing hair

 

Don’t ever lose your sense of wonder

Observe as child with a soul so tender

You will understand

 

Don’t ever lose your sense of wonder

 

08-05-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Keep me afloat


Keep me afloat

 

When rivers of sorrow run underground

Drenched with gloom I weep… keep me afloat

 

When gales of pain throw me around

With a broken-heart I mumble… keep me afloat

 

When waves of danger shake my ground

Frail, clutching the rail I whisper… keep me afloat

 

When storms of fury rage in my mind

On the rim of lunacy I gasp for sanity… keep me afloat

 

When clouds of fear smother my life

Disperse them… embrace me… keep me afloat

 

When fumes of doubts choke my insight

Blow it all away… clear my thoughts… keep me afloat

 

When jaws of despair are open wide

Grab hold of my hand… don’t let me slip… keep me afloat

 

When floods of injustice cause me to drown

Pull me out… give me the kiss of life… keep me a float

 

When stabs of humiliation cut deep into my heart

Wipe my injury… ease my pain… keep me afloat

 

When claws of adversity scratch my humanity

Come to my rescue… caress my wounds … keep me afloat

 

When boats of hope leave me behind

Draw out my wings… give me a push… keep me afloat

 

07-10-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Pure love


Valentine-Day-heart-made-of-Rose-Petals

Pure love

Pure love is selfless

It demands nothing at all

Its greatest satisfaction

Is seeing the beloved

Full of joy and delight

12373361_888736974527881_5199286373646296947_n 

Pure love speaks no language

But that of the soul… silence

It needs no words

For the beloved understands

12345580_10208246270941419_6461131445050853116_n 

Pure love does not require

Physical closeness

It transcends all barriers

Separation by time and space

Is merely an illusion

The beloved is always near by

 422337_10151173232778185_246851933_n

Pure love is generous

It gives endlessly

Waiting for nothing in return

And the more it gives

The more it grows

 11834832_911612932229111_9173659865675768780_o

Pure love is infinite

It has neither beginning nor end

It’s bigger than space, older than time

 59006_115695518593857_403583470_n

Pure love is eternal

Before its glory

Mighty death stands powerless, in awe

It’ can neither harm nor destroy

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Pure love is beautiful

It shines through feelings

Like a diamond in a pile of coal

35509_430168700332343_55762273_n 

Pure love is precious

It’s makes life worth living

12733430_799923596807143_7467750290638984328_n 

And you know what

I can feel your astounding pure love

Shrouding and shielding me

Can you feel mine?

 DSCF0149

13-03-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Snakes and ladders


Snakes and ladders 

All of a sudden

The game starts

 

With a peculiar 2D cube in your hand

You begin at a precise point

Of time and space

 

You toss your magical dice

That only has two sides

A “good” and a “bad”

 

What is more bizarre about this gamble

Is that you are in charge

You choose what side it lands on

 

You desire the “good”

An up the ladder you go

One step… two steps

Three or may be four

 

You prefer the “bad”

The snake appears

And down you slide

One step… two steps

Three or may be four

 

You are constantly playing

And time is running fast

If you want to finish the game

And reach your destination

You’ve got to play it right

 

Otherwise

Before you know it

Your time will be over

Without ever arriving

And that is sad

 

13-05-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

 snakesAndLadders-1024x1005

You can do it


 

You can do it

Light a candle

One little candle

Watch the darkness fade away

 

Just try it out

 

One ray of light

Wipes away the gloomiest

Jet-black nights

As the dawn breaks

 

Just observe

 

Can you see that

All the might of darkness

In the world

Cannot distinguish

The faintest flicker

Of a beam of light

 

Light a candle

One little candle

Watch the darkness fade away

 

You can do it

 

22-04-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved 

Watching you is a prayer


Watching you is a prayer

This poem is dedicated to my beloved children


  

Your sweet smile

Tastes of paradise

So delightful

Glowing

Fills my heart with joy

Lifts me…. Lifts me…. Lifts me

I can fly

 

Watching you is a prayer

 

Your laughter

Captures my soul

Takes me to fairy-land

Where dancing trees live

 In rainbow homes

I’m lost in wonder

 

Watching you is a prayer

 

The twinkle in your eyes

Pierces my being

Explodes into a thousand million stars

I am dazzled with fascination


Watching you is a prayer

 

To the One who fashioned you

I kneel down

And pray

For watching you is a prayer

 

And I want to pray

For ever

May-2005

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Touch of magic


Touch of magic 

Today

Everything was black and white…

Void of all colours,

My world was grey

 

You walk in

All blushes with blossom

Vibrant… fantastic hues

 

Today

My universe was 2D

I could only slide sideways

Just about left or right

 

You walk in

Up… I pop… I jump

In so many directions

My cosmos is of ten dimensions

Free… I fly

 

Today

I was blue icy cold

My shattered frosty pieces

Rattled inside

 

You walk in

My spring blooms

Jasmine… lilies…

Tulips and azaleas

 

Today

I was diminishing

Fraying… fading away

 

You walk in

My heart… consoled

My smile… radiant

My soul… whole

Restored

 

Today… all was dull

Shrouded with gloom

Clouded with despair

 

With a touch of magic

Of your being

Life is transformed

 

Exhilarating

Majestic 

Supreme

15-05-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Hearts


Hearts

  

Hearts are not machines, you know

That we switch -on and off- as we please

Hearts don’t abide by rules of reason

To them, logic makes no sense at all

269144_522390867775321_1631737036_n  

When they love they don’t ask why

Without resistance they surrender

Even if burning with hurt and sorrow

They carry on loving despite the pain

999 

When your heart is telling you some thing

 Don’t suppress… just comply

 Hearts know best, there is no doubt

Their awareness is Divine

IMG_3496 copy 

17-02-2006

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat  -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Dialogue-1


 

Dialogue with my atheist friend

07. September

Dear Sam

I was uplifted with attending the meeting yesterday especially with seeing some new faces, but with all my respect to you as an activist and free thinker I am still perplexed at your stiff position that insists that the only solution to the Palestinian problem is “a one secular” state. My favoured vision also is to see the one state solution; however I can’t fathom the idea that any one of us can claim that he/ she knows what is best for that society! Or that we have the right to impose our ideas on others.

 They know their circumstances better than we do, they have brains to think for themselves, and they are capable of making their own decisions.

It saddens me to see that we as humans -time and time again- fail to have enough insight so we end up not being able to live up to our own principles by giving to others what we want for ourselves: the freedom to choose, the freedom to have their own views on the world, the freedom to create a society that reflects their beliefs, the freedom to live by their own principles.

We always unknowingly fall in the same hole, we think that our ideas are the best, our minds are the greatest, and our principles are the finest. And this is scary because it is “kind of” arrogant.

Why can’t we give people in the Middle East some credit and credibility? Why should we seek to impose our solutions? What different we become from the imperialists whose aim is to impose their vision and control others?

I am perplexed and mystified!!

Nahida

 

———————————————————————————————-

 

07- September

Hi Nahida,

A number of points immediately come to mind.  Perhaps most important is Article 16 of the Palestine National Charter adopted by the Palestinian National Council in July 1968 which reads”
The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual point of view, will provide the Holy Land with an atmosphere of safety and tranquillity, which in turn will safeguard the country’s religious sanctuaries and guarantee freedom of worship and of visit to all, without discrimination of race, colour, language, or religion. Accordingly, the people of Palestine
look to all spiritual forces in the world for support.

This was one of the first things that drew me to the Palestinian cause and over the years I have heard many Palestinian leaders call for a democratic, secular, unitary state based on the above article. Actually the full charter is an amazing document and for me it
demonstrates the intellectual maturity of the Palestinian people.

We have had many discussions on secularity but most important for me is the belief that the Government of a country should be separate from the religious beliefs of its citizens.   I will never accept the imposition of a religion by legislation or any other means for that matter.

I argue with all my heart against a Jewish state not because it is Jewish but because I do not believe it is the role to the state to impose a religion on its people.

The Israeli Government could remove all laws that discriminate against non-Jewish people.  They could even enact laws protecting the rights of non-Jewish people.  But as long as it is a “Jewish State” then by definition anyone who is non-Jewish has secondary status.  Otherwise
why bother having a “Jewish State”.

More importantly I will make the same arguments against any religion.

Perhaps we should be arguing for a three-state solution – an Islamic state, a Jewish state and secular state.

I am afraid this is one where we will have to agree to disagree.

Sam

 

————————————————————————————————————————–

 

07- September

Dear Sam

 

But –dear Sam- what kind of secular state do you want?

 A state that will ban the hijab and prevent me from wearing what I want -like secular France, Germany, Turkey, Tunisia, Belgium, and now even Bulgaria?

 A state that will not allow its children to learn about any faith or religion before they’re 18?

 A state that will impose the teaching of evolution -as viewed by Darwin– as the only scientific truth?

 A state that will consider the teaching of the theory of intelligent design an illegal unlawful practice?

 Can you -dear Sam- give me the guarantee that this secular state unlike many others will allow me the freedom to practice my religion without being persecuted for my beliefs like what happened to people of faith in many communist countries?

Will my right to have faith be protected without having to face the accusation of being backwards, superstitious?

Can you give the guarantee that I will be allowed to believe in a Creator the same way it allows others to believe in blind chance as the cause of our existence -by giving us equal rights and similar platforms to teach our views?

Will people of faith be allowed to teach their views to children?

 

Dear Sam

Consider this scenario: few years from now and miraculously the Zionists agreed to a one state for all, also miraculously they acknowledged their wrong doings and allowed exiled Palestinians to return. Then the nature and the constitution of the new born state were put to the vote.

 Isn’t it the right of the citizens then to decide the nature of their new state? How to introduce laws that will cater for all? As it will be a multi-religious multi-ethnic too.

 

——————————————————————————————-

07- September

Hi Nahida,

I meant to say you looked really well on Tuesday night. I do hope it is an indication that things are getting a bit better for you.

Now for your last letter, It seems that once again we may be down to semantics.

You appear to be working from the premise that taking a particular belief and defining it as a “religious belief” gives it special status, and that it should not be subject to any criticism or restrictions.

Your request for the right to have your faith protected without having to face the accusation of being backwards or superstitious is a perfect example of this, for in every other context this would be considered a restriction on freedom of speech.  The people who believed the earth
was flat, that slavery was morally just, that women who were designated as witches should be burned at the state, that people who were mentally ill should be kept in chains or that women should not be allowed to vote, would have loved to have their rights protected in this way.

History is loaded with “religious beliefs” and as a secularist I apply the same criteria to all. Childhood sacrifice has been an essential part of many religions throughout history, but it is one belief, which we can all agree, should not have its rights protected.  Turning to the
other end of the spectrum, prayer the privacy one’s own home is also an essential part of many religions, but I do not think there are many secularists who would deny people this right.  I certainly would not.

So all other “religious beliefs” fall in between and the issue becomes drawing the line.  If I guarantee you the right to wear a headscarf in public, do I not have to give the same guarantee to anyone who claims their headdress is part of their religious belief, no matter how
offensive some may find it?

Moving beyond headdress, the list of possible conflicts becomes endless and always the same question: where do you draw the line?

Two religious beliefs come to mind on which I would like to know your views.  Jehovah Witness do not believe in blood transfusions and there have been numerous cases where they have been prepared to let their children die, rather than allow them to have a blood transfusion when
it was needed to save the child’s life. Usually the doctors go to court and get a court order allowing them to save the child’s life.  Also some naturists consider nudism to be part of their religious beliefs.
Indeed they argue we are born without clothes and there is no practical need for people relaxing in a warm climate to be forced into wearing clothes.  Thus the question becomes as long as I am guaranteeing religious rights, should I guarantee Jehovah Witness the right to deny their children blood transfusions and naturists the right to go without clothes.  Incidentally can I guarantee the right of two people of same sex to love each other, to share their lives and be free of being considered deviant?

Sam,

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Dialogue-2


———————————————————————————————

08- September

Dear Sam

You said:

You appear to be working from the premise that taking a particular belief and defining it as a “religious belief” gives it special status, and that it should not be subject to any criticism or restrictions.

 

Not at all dear Sam; and I am sorry if I wasn’t making myself clear enough and gave you the wrong example and/or impression.

This is not my argument.  I don’t believe that having a religious belief gives it any special status at all, to criticise or restrict a religious belief is not the issue.

 Nothing is more disturbing to me than to find myself thinking or believing that I or my ideologies are above criticism.

I loathe this idea whether coming from me or from anyone else.

 

The point that I was trying to clarify is that having a secular state is no guarantee for anything, certainly no guarantee of giving human rights to all. You did not respond to any of the examples of bad bad behaviour by secular states except to this one. Talking about accusation against people of faith in that context is only relevant to the point that I was trying to make; not that we deserve special status or treatment but precisely the opposite; i.e. we deserve the same treatment, equality and  respect that other members of society have.

A minority living in a secular state should have the right not to be discriminated against just because of their beliefs, as long as they are not imposing their faith and practice upon others, and that those beliefs and practices are not harmful to others.

But in reality living in a secular state is no guarantee that all members of society will be treated fairly and equally. Some will definitely be more equal than others. Some will be persecuted and indeed imprisoned for their beliefs (many are in Turkey and Tunisia).  Some will be allowed to dress as they please some won’t. Some will be allowed to teach their views and some won’t.

You are probably aware that in USA it is illegal to teach the “Intelligent design” as a theory despite the compelling scientific evidence.

Some will try to deprive others of their rights because of their contempt of religious people. And you know that holds true amongst some secular fundamentalists; to some, religions are viewed as number one enemy even before capitalism and imperialism, to many, religion is the opium of people, and to many more religions are viewed as irrational.

 Despite the fact that both groups (those who believe in a Creator and those who don’t) are standing on equal footing when it comes to logic and rationality into scientifically proving their case.

 

To clarify my position; there are two main points I argue for:

1) Secularism is not a guarantee of establishing a Utopian society which I argued above and previously.

2) People in different societies must be allowed to choose the way they want to run their lives, the methods of establishing their own government, and their own laws/legislations that reflect their ethics and morality.

I as -a Muslim- have absolutely no problem with having and living in a secular state if it was voted for and as long as my human rights are protected.

 I will live by my values and will not try to impose them on others; however, I would expect exactly the same from secularists, if they live in a country with a religious majority.

 

In a society were the make up of that society is mainly of people of faith were they wish to live by laws that reflects their values, I see that as a basic human right.

 That right doesn’t mean that any minority in that society will lose out or become marginalized or oppressed. They have the right to live by their own set of values and morality as long as they don’t impose it on others, and without inflecting harm on the rest of society.

 

 We as a Muslim minority here try to live with our ethics without forcing it upon others; we don’t drink but never expect that other people should follow our moral code. For the sake of argument, suppose that we have a belief that enslaves women or prevents children from getting education; the host society senses the harm done to women or children; they then have the right to restrict our harmful religious practice.

A minority of nudists living in a Muslim majority have no right to impose their ethics on others by going out naked publicly as it will be viewed by the Muslim majority as harmful to some members of the society (the young).

 But if nudists live in a country of their own as a majority and are happy to practice their nudity publicly, then it is not the right of a Muslim or what ever minority living in that country to impose their morality on the majority and force them to dress up.

They can have the choice of either keep living in that society and bearing the consequences of the harm done and trying to persuade the majority of its harmfulness, or find another place to live.

 

 But I don’t see that imposing the ethics of the minority on the majority as a fair option.

 

Giving the right to govern, legislate and create laws for a secular minority against the will of a religious majority in a particular country and trying to impose secular ideologies upon that society is not a fair act.

 

 Simply because it implies one of two things: either that secular morality is superior to others, or that there is only one set of human values namely: that of the secular. None of which is true.

 

 We have seen time and time again that secularism can’t be trusted blindly when in power. So why should I vote for it if I live amongst a Muslim majority?

 

Therefore I adamantly refuse to give the secularists the free hand and the absolute right to create the world’s laws and legislations based only upon their own perceptions, views, ethics, and morality.

 

 

The other point that I want to discuss with you is about morality.

Morality -as I understand it- is not absolute, what is moral to you might be immoral to some one else, and visa versa.

 

A secular might see in the refusal of blood transfusion by religious parents as a great wrong and immoral act yet at the very same time have no problem but indeed defend the right of a mother to kill her baby (abortion) in the name of women’s right, yet both involve the killing of a child.

To me these two acts are as vile and as immoral; but I see it not my right to impose what I think on people; however I can always put my vote where my morality leads me.

 

If I live in a society where the majority voted for the woman’s absolute right to have abortion or to refuse blood transfusion (or indeed any thing that contradicts my morality); I will try within my available means of campaigns and dialogue to defend the weak and vulnerable (the baby) but I will not try to forcibly impose my morality on the whole of society by saying -for example- it’s a great sin in Islam to kill your child.

however if I lived in a society with a Muslim majority, who voted and accepted to live by Islamic morality then I think it is the right of that society to produce legislations that says abortion is illegal  without taking away the right of the minority to protest and try to campaign against that law.

If I lived in a prominently Muslim majority- why should I accept that my government adopt the secular’s definition of what is right and ethical to adhere to and to derive its laws from? 

In a Muslim society (and like any other society) we might have issues that we think are wrong and unethical yet they might not be seen likewise by others; for example consuming alcohol, usury,  or free sexual relationships that lacks any form of commitment, why do we have to adhere to the views and perceptions of the secular. They are perfectly ethical to him/her, why should we as a majority produce our laws to reflect his morality?

 

I am sorry for the long wended essay, but all I am trying to do is to make myself clear, basically and simply I am trying to defend the right of any group of people to live by their own laws that reflects their morality, and that does not necessitate that these laws should be secular, or should reflect the secular’s understanding and perception of the world. For what the secular think and perceive as right and ethical could be seen otherwise by others and visa versa.

 

 Morality is not universal; neither the morality of one group is superior to that of another.

 

My freedom ends where the freedom of the other starts.

With all my love and respect

nahida

———————————————————————————————

08- September

Dear oh Dear Nahida,

You have such a wonderful way with words.  I would dearly love to be able to write like you.

The arguments in your email and the way you present them are complex and I need time to read them carefully.  Thus for example, when talking about nudity, you make reference to the “consequences of the harm done”.  It is as you say a view of the Muslim majority that going
without clothes causes harm yet you seem to treat it almost as if it is a statement of fact.  However it will all have to wait for another time.

The one thing I cannot let go is your statement about there being compelling scientific evidence for "Intelligent design".

I simply do not understand how you can make such a statement.  There is not one shred of evidence to support the idea of intelligent design other than the fact that there are certain phenomena for which we do not at this time have explanations in the physical world.  Whether this be contradictions or gaps in existing theories or phenomena about which we do not have a clue, the absence of knowledge does not mean you can assume intelligent design.

It also helps to explain why the vast majority of the scientific community does not accept intelligent design and I do mean the vast majority for the numbers who support intelligent design are almost insignificant.  Furthermore you will know a scientist’s standing is
based on their contribution to their specific field. Next time you see a so-called scientist who supports intelligent design, go on the web and check out his/her background.  What contributions has he/she made?
How much has he/she added to our knowledge in their particular area of study? How many articles does he/she have in reputable journals? What positions does he/she hold in the scientific community?  Nearly all will be non-entities in the scientific world.

The other day I was in the library and I happened to stumble across the section on molecular genetics, a discipline, which is primarily based on evolutionary principles.  Actually much of modern science is based on those principles but that is another story.  The library had shelves
and shelves of books and journals with articles and research papers adding to our knowledge of molecular genetics.  I guess one of the advantages of intelligent design is that we could throw out all those books and journals and simply put up a sign saying, “no need to do any
more research because everything we wish to know can be explained by intelligent design.

Actually if I had to chose between defending the idea of intelligent design or the idea that the world is flat, I would chose the latter. I could structure my arguments around what I can see rather than what Imust assume is there because I cannot see anything.

I am afraid this is definitely one, which we will have to agree to disagree.

Sam,

————————————————————————————————————————-

08- September

Dear Sam

Indeed I mentioned that as a consequence nudeness might cause harm to children in a society of a Muslim majority and I base my statement on my limited understanding of the psychological nature and psychodynamics of a Muslim society.

 Modesty and sexual intimacy are integral part of that society.

Nudity and sexual exposé are also -to a certain degree- interlinked, at least in Islamic societies if not in most societies.

 Children generally are protected from early exposure to sex and psychologists and psychiatrists confirm that that sheltering is a major contributing factor to the child/ potential adult’s psychological health.

 

Those children who were introduced prematurely to sex and sexual experiences suffer a great deal of psychological problems in their adult life, their agony might take a life time to heal if ever.

In Muslim societies we take that on board, and we take it very seriously, we also think that in exposing children to nudity might have similar psychological effect on the child that lives in a society that values modesty.

 May be future studies will reveal something about this; it is just hard to do experiments on children and human beings.

So the harm that I am talking about is conceived in relation to children living in an Islamic society, therefore it is relative (i.e. in primitive societies where nudeness is the norm and being dressed up is the exception; children might develop a normal healthy psychological profile, I simply don’t know).

Yet that harm is also real and to those living in a Muslim society it is a matter of fact.

 

Now the other point about intelligent design must and have to wait for the next chapter I’m afraid.

Nahida

———————————————————————————————-

08-September

Hi Nahida,

I certainly would not challenge what you are saying in the context of a Muslim society.

Before starting that chapter on intelligent design, please have a look at the following site:

http://www.econemisis.com/Ind-to-Jdm/intelligent_design.php

Do take care.

Sam,

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-0


10- September

The case for Intelligent Design

 

Why God?

But… why not God?

Dear Sam

My intention in writing this is NOT to prove beyond any shadow of doubt that God exists; rather I want to refute the atheistic claim that they dearly hold with a 100% certainty that God doesn’t exists, further I will try to put a logically valid and a scientifically sound case for the former.

 

We -as believers- never claim that we hold “The Scientific Proof” of God’s existence; we say: “we only have faith”, “we believe”, we simply say: we have noticeable, accumulative, and logical verifications that support our faith.

 But it might come to your as a shock and a surprise that I can confidently claim that we have logic, rationality, maths, commonsense, and scientific evidence leaning heavier towards our hypothesis than they are towards yours!!!

Now, I will try to tackle the above issues and questions by breaking the topic into small (hopefully manageable) sections.

 

From a philosophical viewpoint:

 The very intriguing thought here is that if there was no Creator why are we as conscious species obsessed with this concept; either by adamantly denying it or passionately believing in it!

Why should this concept exist at all in our minds? Why should the question arise in the first place?

If there was no elephant in your living room would you ever question the possibility of the existence of one? Would you ever bother to try to prove that it exists? Would you bother –ever- denying its existence? Would such a question ever come to mind?

If there is no hot tea pot revolving around our planet would philosophers (apparently they are humans with the highest IQ) throughout the ages spend their lives debating the existence of a tea pot; some trying to prove and others refuting its existence?

Dear San, unless there is a reasonable possibility that God exists such question would have never occurred.

 

In purely mathematical/ logical sense:

 

There are only two possibilities in relation to the question: does God exist?

Either that God exists or God doesn’t exist, the probability of either case is ½.

Logically speaking, can you affirm without a shadow of doubt that the probability of the existence of a Creator, a Designer is zero?

Dear Sam, no one with the least amount of rationality, the minimum reasoning ability, or the tiniest logical capacity would do this.

Dear Sam, in terms of common sense alone; you can never produce any Absolute Final Proof of the non-existence of a Creator (proving a negative is almost impossible), nor can you ever refute the possibility of the existence of God.

 

So if a secular says that: I can affirm with 100% conviction that there is no God, what he/she is saying is no science, it is mere wishful thinking.

 It is nothing but blind faith, a belief, a mathematically invalid statement and an unscientific declaration!

 

Here, and at this very point I can say that we both stand at almost equal footing to each other; it’s like sitting at two opposite ends of a seesaw in a state of equilibrium.

 What we both have in hand is nothing but FAITH.

However the seesaw leans downwards -ever so slightly- towards my side as a believer, because right from the beginning I never claimed having The Absolute Truth.

At least we are honest about our ideology, all we claim is that we believe, we have faith; yet on the other hand you start at a disadvantaged position by claiming that your ideology is more scientifically based, you claim that it has nothing to do with faith. It is all about facts and knowledge.

Yet I showed earlier that so far all you have is nothing but faith, and all what you’ll ever have is nothing but faith; you can call it a non-faith if you like; nevertheless it is NOT science. It can never be verified.

 

From a scientific point of view:

 

Starting with physics;

One of the first questions that hits us in the face us as we embark on the journey of studying our physical universe is:

 How did our universe came to be?

There are three possibilities that could answer the question:

1) It is eternal; it could’ve existed from -∞ and it will continue to exist forever, it has neither beginning nor end.

2) It has a beginning, a starting point before which it was nothing.

3) It doesn’t exist at all; all is an illusion, all is in the mind of the observer –man who is an illusion too.

 

If we start with the third possibility as the true explanation we might as well stop here, we need to go no further; as this whole dialogue is nonsense. It’s all part of the illusion. If you lean towards this possibility you might as well stop reading.

 

The first possibility doesn’t hold for long in the light of our present knowledge of astronomy and physics, the theory most accepted by theoretical physicists today is that of the big bang, we are told by experts that the universe did not exist from -∞ but in fact it has a starting point, scientists even have calculated the age of our universe.

 

They also confirm that with available data today we know that our universe is expanding; the unanswered question today still is; will our universe continue to expand forever or will it reach a critical point where the gravity will eventually slow it down to a point where it will cause to collapse upon itself in a big crunch?

The answer depends very much on us finding out the accurate mass of the universe; whether it is big enough to pull it back under its own gravity.

 

In other words if data evidence showed us that the universe will expand forever (smaller mass); what we get is a universe with a beginning and no end, but if the evidence showed that it is heavy enough and it will eventually stop expanding what we get is a universe with a beginning and an end.

 

Now back to our three possibilities; and with process of logical elimination we are left with the second explanation as the one most likely to coincide with our common sense; yet within that explanation there are three new possibilities; to explain further:

1) The universe has a beginning but no end and it will continue to expand forever.

2) The universe has a beginning and an end (if it stops expanding)

3) Another plausible thought is the universe exists in an infinite number of cycles of big bangs and big crunches, a never ending dance fluctuating between existence and annihilation in a span of infinite time period.

 

But from the above possibilities we know that -at least- at one point in time (may be infinite number of times) the universe did not exist, i.e. it was nothing.

 

 Trying to make sense of the above information, which is that the universe did not exist; and then it came into being; we could consider two possibilities:

1)     That the physical (matter/energy) universe has spontaneously sprung itself from nothingness into being; i.e. it is the Creator and destroyer of its self.

2)   Or that it has being created by a separate entity (a Creator) that Itself is infinite in time (unlike the universe It has neither beginning nor end).

With my limited ability to think and comprehend I can’t see any other possibilities.

I stop here just to say it’s up to you to go with what ever makes more sense to you, as for me I go with the latter, as my common sense and my conscious defies the notion that I have anything to do with the creation of the universe; yet I know that I am one of its “aware” components! Its true that I exist, I am also aware of my existence and that of the universe, but “I didn’t do it”!

to be continued…

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-1


 

Chemistry perspective:

 

Studying chemistry gives an insight into the closest material world that we live in; unlike physics that often ends up dealing with the macrocosmic, or the microcosmic, chemistry deals with hands on stuff. Things you can hold, test, investigate, and verify.

If so, how dare we bring God into this subject then?

What is the relevance of God here?

In perusing the search for a comprehensible and logical understanding of our existence as humans on this planet; we are bound to come face to face with the study of chemistry and biochemistry, at the end of the day, we are nothing but extremely sophisticated molecules.

My intrigued mind ponders:  how did all these billions and billions of molecules -which are me-, come together? How was I assembled?

 

The true story:


Evolutionists take me back in time hundreds of millions of years, they say: once upon the time, there was this warm acidic soup covering our planet, it contained all sorts of matter, substances, molecules, and atoms.

An accident happened!

Some atoms got together by an unplanned chemical reaction; a more sophisticated molecule was formed; an amino acid.

Then another accident, followed by yet another, and more, and more, and more……………… and more …… and more…

Then amazingly another good accident occurred, followed by another and another and another ……………………………… and more……… and more; many amino acids were formed.

And then… you won’t even believe what happened then; just by many… many more chances more molecules joint…

After these amazing random chances this murky muddy soup was overflowing with amino acids, of many forms, shapes and sizes.

Time passes you know; after many millions of years, with these amino acids swimming around pumping into each other another even more fascinating accident happened, two amino acids joined! Followed by a third, then a forth………….. then a fiftieth….

Then, guess what!! A protein came to be!

Millions of years passed by and these amazingly good chances continued. I can’t believe how lucky we are! More proteins were accidentally assembled, thousands more!

I know that mathematicians tell us that the probability of the formation of one modest protein accidentally is 1 out of 10300 ; they also say that the odds of forming another protein are similar.

 Now one of the smallest bacteria ever discovered, contains 600 "types" of proteins.

To work out the probability of the formation of these proteins it will be about one out of 10180000.

 I know that mathematicians –moreover- say that if we have billions upon billions of years, and amounts of matter that covers billions of planets the chances for a single protein to be formed is an infinitesimally small. 

They also say any probability smaller than 1 over 10150 is considered a zero probability. They also say the probability of forming one living cell with its entire complex components is so infinitesimally small that it’s incalculable, it is mathematically impossible.

Yet the possibility of the existence of God is ½, they say.

 

 I know what you are thinking now… you’re thinking how impossible our situation is, how frustrating.

Please don’t let these abstract figures confuse you, please stay focused.

I want you to know that if you have two probabilities, the first is ½ and the second is 1/near∞, they are both possible. I know that your common sense is alluring you to think that the first is more likely to happen; but by thinking purely in “scientific” terms one can go against his/her commonsense and logic (see quotation *** below).

 

 I accept that the probability of the coincidental formation of our building blocks; a single protein is "as unlikely as the possibility of a monkey writing the history of humanity on a typewriter without making any mistakes". However, I want to reassure you that you need not to worry because we were very very lucky indeed, and you know what? It already happened! In our dictionary the word impossible does not exist, except when it comes to “God” of course.

 

But obviously this is not the end of the story; luck continued to pour upon this blessed planet, and some how, other compounds accidentally -and for no particular reason- managed to arrange itself in such an order forming the amazing structure of DNA. And please don’t ask about the probability of this happening.

 

Meanwhile, many… many… many other good accidents happened and things like the nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, electrolytes and many other chemicals started -for no particular reason- arranging themselves accidentally in specific proportions, harmony, and design, in order to have a specific structures and specific functions accidentally -and for no particular reason- forming the very first known cell on this fabulous planet.

 

 Now I can see it in your wondering eyes, you want to know the probability of that happening don’t you? Now that is not my job, I am not a mathematician… I am a biologist can’t you see?

If you are so keen, go and work it out yourself; this is your homework for today.

All I can say to you that it is very possible, highly probable, it has happened!

 

I know that it was a long story, but this is how life on earth began.

 

End of Chapter One.

 By now I think you know what is the twist in the story, don’t you? If you don’t, don’t worry, it will be revealed in Chapter Two.

 

Biology perspective (chapter 2):

 

The twist of this unbelievable story is that these accidental, purposeless, functionless, complex structures known as DNA started -for some purposeless reason- making copies of itself. I am not sure if it was –at the time- making copies of itself while inside the cell or out side it!

I am not totally sure also how exactly did the first cell managed to divide itself. What was the kick? May be you can tell me!! Yes you!!

 

I think by now you know the happy ending of the story, but I’ll give you a synopsis of what happened.

This first cell continued to make copies of itself making billions upon billions of its own kind, until one happy afternoon another accident happened, the DNA got board, and for no particular reason it decided that it’s no longer happy with the way it was.

It needed something more from its life, something more fulfilling, more meaningful, so for no particular reason and by pure chance it managed suddenly to change itself.

And then hurray… a new cell was formed.

This pattern continued billions and billions of time, purposely and for no particular reason many types of life forms came to be. Some stayed independent as one-cell organism.

 

 Others –and for no particular reason- joined together, agreeing accidentally between themselves –for no particular reason- to stick together for better or for worse. They also agreed –for no particular reason- to accidentally help each other out and to form highly sophisticated, extremely organised, and beautifully structured purposeless organisms.

 

Every now and then, these accidental, purposeless structures of life-forms keep popping out and/or changing producing the millions of different varieties that we see today.

 Until today, and accidentally… for no particular reason they continue to produce life-forms of specific proportions, harmony, design, intelligence, awareness, morality, and beauty that are perfect in terms of structure, adaptability,  and function.

 

And for no particular reason life on earth goes on.

 

THE END

The Gospel of St. Darwin

 

WARNING: if you don’t believe this story, then you must be a creationist or an Intelligent Design supporter; you have no right to get involved with any real scientific research, teaching or discussion.

 If you insist on denying this Gospel we will summon you to court. If you ever try teaching children anything else; then be prepared to lose your job. If you try doing your PhD on something controversial that does not conform to this Gospel your failure is guaranteed.

 

Dear Sam, I’m sorry for going off the track, I just couldn’t help trying to imagine being on the other side. I guess it didn’t work… heh.

 

Back to normal now:

 

From a human rights perspective:

 

 As people of faith we stand next to you -as atheists- on equal footing, in our right to believe, and our right to discuss Intelligent Design as a plausible scientific theory, our right to seek evidence that gives our hypothesis more credence; as much as you have the right to discuss naturalism, and to seek proof to help you obliterate God from your lives.

 

What you don’t have the right for –however- is to silence us by imposing new laws that takes away those rights from us.

You don’t have the right to claim to be the sole holder of the candle of science.

 You don’t have the right to prevent us from presenting our knowledge and view point to the public.

 You don’t have the right to stop us from being part of the scientific community.

 You don’t have the right to claim the minds of our children and to stop them hearing our side of the story.

 

The days of discrimination, thought blackmailing, and persecution against people who have a different out look to life than yours are over.

 We do not want secular fundamentalism to dominate our lives, and our children’s lives, to force its own beliefs upon us, or to deprive us from our natural right to make choices and think freely.

 We have the RIGHT to believe that there is a God as much as you have the right to BELIEVE that there is no God.

 The rigid reaction and the irrational adamant refusal of investigating, discussing, teaching of Intelligent Design as a “theory” is puzzling; Darwinists resorted to courts to stop scientists from pursuing their right to teach their hypothesis and their line of investigations!

Will they manage to produce new laws and punishments against those rebellious free thinkers?

 Does that remind you of something- I wonder?

 

Insisting that faith (the belief in God) should be cast out from the public life (education, science, research, and politics) only gives the secular more rights to influence, shape and control people’s lives, despite the fact that all they have is also nothing but faith (belief in no God- materialism instead).

 

Instead of turning your back on God; why not be more daring: investigate, scrutinize, explore, and ask questions like: why do people have faith? What do they get out from their faith?

They are not a bunch of uneducated, brainless, or deluded people. They have brains just like you; they can think.

They are not a misguided bunch of ignorant people, or brainwashed individuals living in superstitions.

 

They are people… just like you.

 

Darwinian Fundamentalist Manifesto:

Richard Lewontin’s Commitment to Materialism

Richard Lewontin’s January 9, 1997 article, Billions and Billions of Demons, which is a review of Carl Sagan’s book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark contains the oft-quoted line about not allowing “a Divine Foot in the door.” The entire paragraph in which this line appears is worth quoting. It seems to me to be the best statement of the philosophical foundation for the Darwinian fundamentalist perspective.

 

“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense***  is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

 

Wow!! What a great devotion, what an unshakable faith!! What a firm believer in… Materialism

 

From a psychological perception:

 

Now, I can talk about this point from a purely personal perspective; my faith gives me inner strength; I don’t need rely on anything; people, things, or mind-blocking substances to cope with the adversities of life, pain, worries or sorrow. My faith is my inner strength.

It gives me a sense of purpose, it gives my life a meaning, it gives my mind a sense of direction, it gives my heart endless fulfilment and fills it with boundless love, and it gives my soul everlasting joy and delight

 

My faith brings to me none but the most pleasant, most amazing feelings of contentment, tranquillity, peace; that life could be raging around me but I am sitting there ever so calm, ever so still, ever so safe, as if forever sitting in the eye of the storm.

 

My faith enthuse me with hope, happiness and bliss that nothing, absolutely nothing in this life I’ve ever experienced can be weighed against, measured up to, or compared with those intense wonderful experiences.

It is like trying to describe the feeling of your magnificent love to some one who’s never been in love before, who’s only experienced the enjoyment of intellectual muse, but never tasted love.

 

The feeling of excitement of intellectual stimulation, and the delight and pleasure of being in love and feeling loved are absolutely insignificant compared to the overwhelming enchantment and ecstasy that the soul enjoys in one moment of inspiration

 

Can I ever give it up for anything? Can I ever swap it with the whole material world with all of what’s in it?

Never

 Not even if I were to be chopped and diced into pieces or burnt at the stake.

Dear Sam, you can imagine the implications (on some people) of believing that life is nothing but some blind purposeless random events.

The implications of the concept of survival of the fittest; do you think that has any thing to do with the rise of capitalist imperialist fascist, and even Nazi’s  ideologies?

 

Finally dear Sam, I want you to contemplate on the possibility (no matter how tiny to you) that our narrative might be true. That God might exist. What are the implications of that?

With all my prayer

And lots of love

Nahida

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-2


11- September

 Dear Sam

This article is from the Internet

 

THE LANGUAGE OF OUR CELLS

 


Does the intelligence of DNA point to a designer?

Consider for a moment the cathedral-like structure of a snowflake under a microscope. Look at the beauty. Look at the complexity. Look at the originality of each individual flake. Surely this is evidence for a grand designer in the universe.

Well, no, actually it’s not—no more so than the burned enchilada of a woman in Mexico that apparently revealed the image of Jesus (though in the photo it did kind of look like him).

Although crystalline forms of a snowflake are beautiful and impressive, designs of this type abound in nature, and natural processes can and do produce them.

Neo-Darwinists believe that natural selection and favourable mutations are the total explanation for the appearance of design in nature.

But what if complexity in nature is discovered that is not explainable by natural selection and chance mutations? What if, unlike our snowflake and enchilada examples, scientists discover a form of complexity that exceeds all human engineering and all sophisticated software programs? This raises an important question: How would we be able to detect intelligent design in nature if it actually exists?

OF CLOTHES DRYERS, MOUNT RUSHMORE, AND PRIME NUMBERS

The folks at SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) have done some thinking along the lines of what constitutes signs of intelligence. They are searching for extraterrestrial life, as opposed to God, but they have to deal with the same problem set. How would they recognize communication from outer space if they saw or heard it?

Some of their thinking is brought out in the movie Contact. In one scene, the character played by Jodie Foster spends the evening listening to her dryer (presumably Blockbuster was closed). But there is a method to her apparent madness. She is trying to train her ears so that she will be able to recognize intelligent radio signals from outer space, filtering out the zillion random signals produced by all manner of objects in the cosmos.

A clothes dryer produces a certain level of mechanical rhythm; its noise actually has a level of design, sort of like that of a snowflake. But that noise (especially when you have sneakers thumping around in there) represents a type of design that non-intelligence (that is, nature) can produce.

How can we tell the difference between design that occurs naturally and intelligent design?

Let’s say we’ve headed out to Vegas, and along the way, we come upon a bizarre rock formation. I say, “Hey, look at the erosion on that rock. It looks kind of like Richard Nixon when the Watergate tapes were made public.” You, on the other hand, think it looks like Vladimir Putin eating scrambled eggs. We agree to disagree, but we both note that the forces of erosion made something that looks a bit like a product of intelligent design.

Now, as we drive farther, we come to Mount Rushmore. Seeing it for the first time, I am amazed. I say, “Wow, look at the erosion on those rocks. It looks just like three presidents I recognize and some guy wearing glasses.” You rightly call me an idiot, not only because you know who Teddy Roosevelt is, but also because it is obvious by the way the stone is cut and the extraordinary degree of design that this is the product of intelligent craftsmen—ones who apparently have no fear of heights.

But there must be a more scientific way to differentiate between these two levels of design: one that can be produced by nature and one that can’t.

Later on in the movie Contact, the scientists receive radio waves at the sequence of 1,126 beats and pauses. The sequence, they deduce, represents the prime numbers 2 through 101. It becomes doubtful that random radio waves could emit such a sequence, thus they presume they have made contact.

This is a more scientific way of differentiating between two different orders of design. It is commonly called CSI. This acronym has nothing to do with a popular TV show. It stands for “complex, specified information.”

CSI: THE UNIVERSE

Here is what you need to remember about CSI, or complex, specified information. Nature can generate information that is complex, and it can produce information that is specified, but it cannot do both.

The best way to understand this is to think of yourself as a computer programmer. (You might want to grab a large bag of potato chips and a six-pack of Coke to get into character.) I want you to write a program for the computer telling it to type random letters of the alphabet.

It should be fairly easy to write the program. Just instruct the computer to type keys at random and repeat the process infinitely. Now, occasionally the letters might make an interesting pattern, perhaps even type the word “Nixon” by accident, but it is clearly generating a design of complexity without any real specificity.

Now let’s switch it around. Let’s say I ask you to program the computer to type the word “the”. This is going to require specificity. You must specify, “Computer, type the letter ‘t,’ then ‘h,’ and then ‘e,’ and do this over and over again until your printer runs out of ink or your hard drive crashes.” This is specific, but it is not complex. You can program the computer in this case, like the previous one, with just a few lines of instructions.

Typing random letters or typing a simple word over and over is like the kind of
design that natural processes can handle on their own.

Now let’s look at specified complexity. Let’s say I ask you to program the computer to write out a Harlequin romance novel and make the girl decide to dump the guy in the end. You would have to write a list of instructions for the computer larger than the book itself. You would have to specify, in the form of a command, every letter of every word.

Few people would have thought of Harlequin romances as specified complexity, but as you can see, they are. The commands to the computer are extremely complex and extremely specific. That’s the kind of detail we must demand if we are going to believe that there is intelligent design exhibited in the world.


PROBABLY INTELLIGENT

Seems simple enough, but at what point does something cross the threshold from the simple design found in nature to second-order design produced only by intelligence? Mathematician William Dembski illustrates the difference by having us visualize a rat trying to go through a maze.

In a simple maze, the rat can take one turn and escape from the maze. Even a dim-witted rat could take one turn and escape. But now imagine that the maze is extremely complex, possessing walls and requiring 100 precise turns to reach the point of escape. How likely is it that the little critter will quickly learn all the correct turns and escape? Impossible–unless we have one awfully bright rat.

So, when do we infer intelligence? According to mathematicians when the odds against an event occurring are 1 in 10150 or greater, it can’t be accidential.1 In order to grasp such an astronomical number, consider that the odds against winning a Power ball lottery with a single ticket is about 1 in108 Or trying to pick a solitary atom from all the atoms in the universe would be 1 in 1080

So, having cleared all that up, we come to the real question. Forgetting all the erosion and snowflake patterns, are there any examples of specified complexity found in nature pointing toward intelligent design? The short answer is yes. What follows, without getting into too much detail, is
the longer answer. It uses the example of something each of us has heard something about: deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.

WHAT A LITTLE STAND CAN DO

DNA. That one complex molecule contains the complete blueprint for every cell in every living thing. In a sense DNA is like a recipe where common ingredients are used to make different dishes. Only, instead of tasty dishes, DNA instructs cells to make flowers, whales, chickens, or people. (Hmm…so chickens aren’t tasty dishes?)

The genius of DNA lies not only in its complex coded instructions for life but also in its incredibly well-designed architecture, which allows it to contain billions of detailed instructions within a microscopic molecule. The amount of DNA that would fit on a pinhead contains information equivalent to that of a stack of paperback books that would encircle the earth 5,000 times!2

Our complete blueprint is present in each of our thousand million million cells. Think of an enormous building with thousands upon thousands of rooms, where each room houses a complete set of blueprints for the entire structure. (If these analogies are getting a little sterile for you, then you might want to imagine a series of beach houses—and imagine yourself sitting in one.) However, instead of merely thousands of rooms, our bodies contain trillions of cells, each with a complete package of DNA instructions.3

Each strand of DNA in our bodies consists of three billion base pairs of genetic information. These base pairs form a chain, which constitutes the entire human genetic code. Today the entire human genome has been mapped out. Even though humans are closest to chimpanzees in DNA sequencing, there are still some 40 million differences. (Except maybe with my friend Bob.)4

YOUR CELLS ARE TALKING

But just what is DNA, and how does it work? Although scientists are only beginning to unravel its mysteries, they know that DNA works much like a coded language. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates (apparently sizing up the potential to patent it and make it a part of Windows) discloses, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.”5

When we think of sophisticated computer programs, we immediately realize that their coded software was intentionally designed. Materialists believe that DNA originated without any such intentional process. But is it possible that natural causes alone engineered DNA?

Prior to microbiologists’ discovery of the incredibly complex language of DNA, materialists had believed its origin was explainable by natural means. However, design theorists have now applied the mathematical discipline of CSI to the question of whether DNA is the result of intelligent design or was accidental in its origin.

Historian and philosopher Stephen C. Meyer comments on the intelligence required for coded languages: “Our experience with information-intensive systems (especially codes and languages) indicates that such systems always come from an intelligent source.”6

In other words, like a code or language, DNA operates with specifically organized instructions. This is the CSI (complex, specified information) discussed earlier as the watermark of intelligent design.

When DNA directs the cell to make proteins, it first gives instructions to make amino acids. Then twenty different amino acids must precisely link up into a chain, folding into an exacting, irregular three-dimensional protein. The amino acids are like letters; their arrangement spells out the specific protein being made.

Proteins are truly amazing. MIT-trained scientist Dr. Gerald Schroeder explains,


Other than sex and blood cells, every cell in your body is making approximately two thousand proteins every second. A protein is a combination of three hundred to over a thousand amino acids. An adult human body is made of approximately seventy-five trillion cells. Every second of every minute of every day, your body and every body is organizing on the order of 150 thousand thousand thousand thousand thousand thousand amino acids into carefully constructed chains of proteins. Every second; every minute; every day. The fabric from which we and all life are built is being continually rewoven at a most astoundingly rapid rate.7

LIFE IN A TEST TUBE

In the 1950’s, Harold Urey, a professor at the University of Chicago challenged his students to create life in a test tube. One of his students who tried, Stanley Miller was jubilant, when after enormous efforts he produced a few amino acids…the building blocks of proteins.

It all appeared so promising, but what Miller didn’t understand then was that without DNA, those amino acids would never be able to form proteins…the stuff of life. The initial euphoria faded once further discoveries revealed life’s incredible complexity.

Professor J.P. Moreland compares laboratory results with the complexity required to generate life: “…if life can be likened to an encyclopedia in complexity and information, the best we have done is to synthesize a compound which carries the complexity and information of the word ME. The jump from ME to an encyclopedia is so far and speculative that the relevance of progress so far is questionable.”8

Meyer points out that the chemical codes directing the process attach themselves to the structure of the DNA molecule like letters on a chalkboard, but they do so without becoming organically involved with the board or the other letters.

Therefore, he distinguishes the information content from the chemical bonding.

Furthermore, Meyer compares the sequencing of the amino acids to a language:
“Amino acids alone do not make proteins, any more than letters alone make words, sentences or poetry.”9

The fact that the arrangement of the letters is not the result of chemical bonding has driven Meyer to conclude that, without intelligence, DNA would never be able to turn amino acids into proteins. He writes, “The chance of each amino acid finding the correct bond is one in twenty; the chance of one hundred amino acids hooking up to successfully make a functional protein is one in 1030.”10

And to survive, the protein chain must be contained within an intricate cellular architecture. That means that the odds against a protein being manufactured randomly are astronomical. It would be easier for a blindfolded person to find one special grain of sand hidden on one of the world’s beaches than to have a protein appear by chance.

WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

Such complexity is so improbable that Meyer believes the DNA code cannot be the product of undirected natural processes. Furthermore, he reasons that DNA coding exhibits creative intelligence beyond random chemical bonds.

Perhaps this is why every attempt to create life has failed. Cambridge Professor of Evolutionary Paleobiology, Simon Conway Morris remarks on biologists’ efforts to replicate life in a test tube: “And yet, something is clearly missing: life cannot be created in the laboratory, nor is there any clear prospect of it happening.”11

How did a molecule with such complex coded instructions originate? What natural process triggered a smattering of organic chemicals to come together and form the incredibly sophisticated double helix? Schroeder remarks, “And here’s that enigma. … It shows its head in a dozen different ways, the problem of how the entire process originally got started.”12

Dembski, Meyer, and Schroeder are part of a growing number of scientists and mathematicians who have concluded that the DNA molecule is so complex that it couldn’t have spontaneously assembled itself.

In Probability 1, mathematician and evolutionist Amir Aczel summarizes the DNA dilemma: “Having surveyed the discovery of the structure of DNA … and having seen how DNA stores and manipulates tremendous amounts of information (3 billion separate bits for a human being) and uses the information to control life, we are left with one big question: What created DNA?”13

An increasing number of scientists in other fields are also admitting that DNA’s complexity is not explainable by mere chance. Theoretical physicist Paul Davies affirms in The 5th Miracle,


The peculiarity of biological complexity makes genes seem almost like impossible objects. …

I have come to the conclusion that no familiar law of nature could produce such a structure from incoherent chemicals with the inevitability that some scientists assert.14


Biologist Michael Behe comments on the dilemma facing scientists who are wedded to a purely materialistic account of the origin of life, “In the face of the enormous complexity that modern biochemistry has uncovered in the cell, the scientific community is paralyzed.”15

Agnostic Sir Fred Hoyle, when considering the enormous information requirement of life writes, “Were a refined theory available for estimating the information content of DNA it would, in our opinion, be immediately apparent from its overwhelming content that life could never have arisen on a miniscule planet like on Earth. It would be seen that, to match the information content of even the simplest cell, nothing less than the resources of the entire Universe are needed.”16

DNA BY DESIGN?

Scientists have been stunned by the overwhelming probability against DNA forming by chance. It is one thing for intelligent scientists to manipulate chemicals under laboratory conditions, and it is quite another to attribute the origin of DNA to random action. Even the most ardent materialists do not claim to have explained DNA’s origin.

Amir Aczel questions his own materialistic belief by admitting that DNA is too complex to have arisen from natural processes. In a reflective mode he asks,


Are we witnessing here something so wondrous, so fantastically complex, that it could not be chemistry or random interactions of elements, but something far beyond our understanding?17


DNA’s codiscoverer Francis Crick also considers DNA to be too complex to have arisen in a warm pond on early Earth. This highly regarded Nobel Prize–winning biologist concludes, “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to almost be a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”18

In spite of Crick’s assertion that DNA appears miraculous he remained a materialist and began looking to outer space for the origin of life. (panspermia).

Having acknowledged the impossibility of DNA to originate naturally, some scientists have shifted their focus to RNA. Several biologists believe that DNA emerged from RNA. However, microbiologists who have analyzed RNA now believe it too “could not have emerged straight from the prehistoric muck.”19

Not only is RNA prohibitively intricate, but it’s far more delicate than DNA, meaning it couldn’t cohere by itself even if it did come together by chance. Thus, the origin of life remains an unsolved riddle to scientists.

Aczel reasons that the complexity of DNA could not have arisen naturally on Earth, He asks, “Was it perhaps the power, thinking, and will of a supreme being that created this self-replicating basis of all life?”20 Like Crick, Aczel concludes that DNA must have arrived from outer space.

But according to Dembski, “Natural causes such as chance and law are incapable of producing CSI.”21 Since these laws apply throughout the universe, one shouldn’t hold his breath about finding Klingons on Planet Qo’noS in the Beta Quadrant–unless a designer made DNA based life elsewhere.

So how did life on Earth originate? Is intelligent design worthy of consideration? Not according to Dawkins, Eldridge, Mayr, and a host of other materialistic scientists who are convinced it is an enemy of science.

Yet other leading scientists are willing to objectively look at the evidence. And new scientific evidence has pushed intelligent design to the forefront of the debate on origins. Even many hardened atheists have considered the evidence and admit the implications of design.

Antony Flew is one materialist who led the charge against an intelligent designer. Recognized by many as the world’s leading atheist for the past fifty years, Flew wrote over thirty books arguing against a creator.

But this formidable atheist took an honest look at DNA, remarking,


What I think the
DNA material has done is show that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements together. The enormous complexity by which the results were achieved look to me like the work of intelligence.22


Flew, who accepts Darwinian evolution, but doubts it can account for life’s origins, sees intelligent design as the best option to explain biological complexity. He made front page news when he renounced his atheism, remarking,


I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it…It now seems to me that the finding of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.23

Flew’s honesty is to be applauded, but materialists aren’t clapping. As the intelligent design movement gains momentum, many refuse to consider it as an option, dismissing it as “unscientific.” However, most thinking people want to hear the facts and draw their own conclusions. Like Flew, many who have honestly investigated the evidence, are in awe at what appears to be a superintelligence behind life and all its intricate complexity.

——————————————————————————————————————–

11- September

 

Dear oh Dear Nahida,

I am at a bit of a loss as to how to respond.

I have had a quick look through the second and third emails you sent.
Unfortunately I do not have the time to untangle the arguments and check out the references.  I did check the Internet and was amazed at the number of similar articles, some of which appear to have been around for years.   This is another one (
http://home.pacbell.net/skeptica/religion.html) and is similar the two you sent. It is called “The Big Bang Religion: Scientists Speak For Themselves” and is about scientists who believe in a creator.

I also did check out one of the references in the DNA article and found that the original source has been misquoted and used out of context, making that particular bit of the argument meaningless.  I then went on to check the vast number of sites challenging intelligent design,
paying attention to the people writing the articles and the publications in which they appeared. (If interested go to google and type in “debunking intelligent design or challenging intelligent
design”) and you will see what I mean. It would appear that that the use of convoluted arguments based on partial quotes taken out of context and twisted to fit people’s preconceptions, forms the basis for many articles advocating intelligent design. Thus instead of concepts based on evidence you have evidence based on the concept, which in this
case is intelligent design. The vast majority of scientists treat these ideas as a joke for they add nothing to our knowledge of the natural world.  It is also apparent that as I said before that the actual numbers of scientists who accept the idea of intelligent design is insignificant, and of those who do, few have any real standing in the scientific community.

I am very sorry to have to say this Nahida because it is obvious how strongly you feel, but I would not be honest if I said otherwise. The standard of the articles debunking intelligent design, the journals in which they appear and the reputations and previous achievements of the authors make the concept of intelligent design seem even more fanciful
that I had previously thought.

Dear Nahida, please do me one favour.  Try to forget about the issue and take a close objective look at some of the articles advocating intelligent design and some of those challenging intelligent design or explaining evolutionary principles.  Look at the format, the calibre of the arguments, the way they are constructed, the logic, the referencing, etc. Hopefully you will begin to see what I mean.

The real issue for debate among scientists should be how to respond to intelligent design.  Many do see it as a “threat” and get very upset, vociferously attacking the arguments in favour of intelligent design and calling for the teaching of intelligent design to be outlawed in
the belief that it will have a detrimental effect on students.  There are several problems with this approach.  First it gives intelligent design a credibility it does not deserve, making it seem as if it is a valid scientific theory worthy of consideration as such.  Perhaps decades ago, creationism or intelligent design as it is now called, may have seemed a “threat” to evolutionary principles but these principles now form the basis of so much of modern science and are so deeply entrenched that this is not the case.

Thus if people wish to believe in intelligent design, why bother to challenge it.  The huge body of knowledge in so many different fields will not be erased and the vast majority of scientists who reject intelligent design will continue to expand this knowledge based on evolutionary principles.  I would imagine it is very similar to Galileo’s time when people insisted the world was flat. Their impact continued to decrease until it disappeared.  Challenging intelligent
design also takes time and energy and I do not believe it is worth the effort.  If people want to believe in intelligent design, then why not let them. Perhaps it gives them a sense of security, making them feel better about themselves, which is a good thing.

The teaching of intelligent design in school science classes is more problematical for as I said, it does elevate it to that of a science and gives it a credibility it clearly does not deserve.  However I think the scientific community should seriously consider letting it be included in the science curriculum.  Admittedly it would dilute the amount of time for the teaching of real science but with a bit of imagination it could also be used to help students gain a better
understanding of evolutionary principles.  Those students who do go on to believe in intelligent design will have no more impact on the future of science than those before them who believed in intelligent design. It is hard to imagine a brilliant student with the potential to become
a great scientist taking up the idea of intelligent design. If they do, then it is a loss to all of us.  Maybe that is what intelligent design is all about.

Once again, please forgive me if anything I have said causes you offence, but it is what I believe.

Sam,

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-3


 

Dear oh Dear Nahida,

You surprise me for I see you as someone with a brilliant mind, undoubtedly one of the sharpest, I have come across in years.  Yet, when something arises that in any way clashes with your deeply held religious beliefs that incredible intellect seems to take a back seat.

I first noticed this when I queried why divinely inspired writings such as the Koran made no mention of the fact that the earth was round or that it revolved around the sun. Your response was to come up with an obscure passage from the Koran, which with a lot of interpretation
could be used to suggest the earth is round.  (I say obscure because I subsequently asked a number of Muslims about it, and they had never heard of the passage)

One would have thought that given the fact that the earth is round and that it revolves around the sun, is probably the biggest single contradiction between what we can see and the real world; there would be more emphasis of this fact in divinely inspired writings.  The
obvious answer is that “men” based on their knowledge of the world as they saw it wrote Koran.

I once asked you how two little boys, one growing up in the deserts of the Middle East and one on the ice flows of the artic, would relate to Koran. I am sure the Koran like the Bible talks of deserts, sands, camels, goats but how much discussion is there of glaciers and polar
bears?  Were the Koran not to have the religious significance that it does, you would probably be the first to point out that it was written by “men” based on their knowledge of the world as they knew it and that did not include ice flows and polar bears.  I do so wish you would give
free reign to your intellect and not constrain it with your religious beliefs.

You have done the same thing with this article on intelligent design. I am not an evolutionary biologist and thus not in a position to critique the article but I would be willing to bet that if I went to the subsequent issue of the journal, there would be quite a few letters destroying every argument the author makes.  Go into google and type in the words “evolutionary biology” and compare the sites that come up when you type in the words “intelligent design”.

I know this may be impossible but try to put aside your deeply held religious beliefs and objectively look at the material resulting from the two searches.  There is no doubt in my mind if you were looking at two sets of suggested mathematical proofs, you could look objectively
at them and see which was correct.  Why can you not do the same when comparing the material on evolutionary biology and intelligent design? How is it that as a mathematician you can ignore the vast amount of material that has been built up over the past 150 years about
evolutionary biology and then focus in on the nonsensical writings and the occasional pseudo-scientific article supporting intelligent design?

Again I ask you, please try and look at the material objectively, not through the eyes of your religious beliefs.

Sam,

 

—————————————————————————————————————————

13- September

Dear Sam

 

Yet, I am the one who’s at loss at your unbelievable responses (or should I say lack of response to my specific arguments).

 I am truly perplexed and puzzled at your incredible counter-arguments that you responded by to my arguments!

 

I tried to put forward to you -as clearly as I possibly could- my personal views onto why do I think that the idea of the existence of a Designer/ a Creator seems to my logic, my intellect and my commonsense more plausible than other theories; yet instead of responding to my points by trying to convince me otherwise and by refuting them logically and scientifically all you come up with is nothing but emotionally charged responses with no scientific validity what so ever; that can be summarized as such:

 

  • Firstly: you show your disappointment in my lack of ability to use my intellect.
  • Secondly: you keep referring me to google asking me to read more on the two arguments
  • Thirdly: you do more… you mock, and ridicule the scientists/ people who support my case rather than refute and challenge what they say.
  • Fourthly: your forth argument is that you come up with “presumptions” that appears to you and to your imagination as “facts”.

 

To illustrate to how do you do it from your own words, here it is:

1)     Showing your disappointment in my lack of ability to use my intellect.

 

.  “I do so wish you would give free reign to your intellect and not constrain it with your religious beliefs.”

 “You surprise me for I see you as someone with a brilliant mind, undoubtedly one of the sharpest; I have come across in years.  Yet, when something arises that in any way clashes with your deeply held religious beliefs that incredible intellect seems to take a back seat”

 

 

but dear Sam that is exactly what I have been trying to debate with you about, that something that arose –that you refer to- is the evolution, which I argue against in favour of Intelligent Design; I –very clearly­- have laid my case for the latter, and I am still waiting to hear your own response to my arguments; point by point rather than this vague and blurry reaction against my faith.

.

 

2)   you keep referring me to google asking me to read more on the two arguments

 

 

“Dear Nahida, please do me one favour.  Try to forget about the issue
and take a close objective look at some of the articles advocating intelligent design and some of those challenging intelligent design or explaining evolutionary principles”

 

“Again I ask you, please try and look at the material objectively, not through the eyes of your religious beliefs.”

 

“I know this may be impossible but try to put aside your deeply held religious beliefs and objectively look at the material resulting from the two searches.  There is no doubt in my mind if you were looking at two sets of suggested mathematical proofs, you could look objectively at them and see which was correct. Why can you not do the same when comparing the material on evolutionary biology and intelligent design?
How is it that as a mathematician you can ignore the vast amount of material that has been built up over the past 150 years about evolutionary biology and then focus in on the nonsensical writings and the occasional pseudo-scientific article supporting intelligent design?”

 

 Go into google and type in the words “evolutionary biology” and compare the sites that come up when you type in the words “intelligent design”.

Dear Sam what material? I am having a dialogue/ debate with you, not with google.

 

Don’t you think that by now that I’ve read something from both sides about what we are talking about?

 

3) You come up with more… you attack the scientists/ people rather than refute and challenge what they say

 

“I am very sorry to have to say this Nahida because it is obvious how strongly you feel, but I would not be honest if I said otherwise. The standard of the articles debunking intelligent design, the journals in which they appear and the reputations and previous achievements of the authors make the concept of intelligent design seem even more fanciful that I had previously thought.”

 

. “The vast majority of scientists treat these ideas as a joke for they add nothing to our knowledge of the natural world.  It is also apparent that as I said before that the actual numbers of scientists who accept the idea of intelligent design is
insignificant, and of those who do, few have any real standing in the scientific community.”

.  “I then went on to check the vast number of sites challenging intelligent design,
paying attention to the people writing the articles and the publications in which they appeared. (If interested go to google and type in “debunking intelligent design or challenging intelligent design”) and you will see what I mean.”

 

“Next time you see a so-called scientist who supports intelligent design, go on the web
and check out his/her background.  What contributions has he/she made?
How much has he/she added to our knowledge in their particular area of
study? How many articles does he/she have in reputable journals? What
positions does he/she hold in the scientific community?  
Nearly all
will be non-entities in the scientific world.”

The teaching of intelligent design in school science classes is more problematical for as I said, it does elevate it to that of a science and gives it a credibility it clearly does not deserve”

 

Those students who do go on to believe in intelligent design will have no more impact on the future of science than those before them who believed in intelligent design. It is hard to imagine a brilliant student with the potential to become a great scientist taking up the idea of intelligent design. If they do, then it is a loss to all of us.  Maybe that is what intelligent design is all about.”

“Challenging intelligent design also takes time and energy and I do not believe it is worth the effort.”

 

 

4) One more thing that you came up with, “presumptions” that appear to you and to your imagination as “facts”

 

“You have done the same thing with this article on intelligent design.
I am not an evolutionary biologist and thus not in a position to
critique the article
but I would be willing to bet that if I went to
the subsequent issue of the journal, there would be quite a few letters
destroying every argument the author makes
.  Go into google and type in
the words “evolutionary biology” and compare the sites that come up
when you type in the words “intelligent design”.

 

 

I first noticed this when I queried why divinely inspired writings such
as the Koran made no mention of the fact that the earth was round or
that it revolved around the sun.
Your response was to come up with an
obscure passage from the Koran
, which with a lot of interpretation
could be used to suggest the earth is round.  (I say obscure because I
subsequently asked a number of Muslims about it, and they had never
heard of the passage)

Dear Sam, the verse that you are referring to is very clear, is it my fault that your Muslim friends don’t know it?

 Is it my problem that you refuse to believe something which is there in front of your nose?

Further, there is more than one verse that explicitly refers to the fact that the earth is round. The evidence is there for people who want to see.

 

“He made the earth egg-shaped”  (79:30)

He has created the Heavens and the Earth for Truth. He wraps the night up in the day, and wraps the day up in the night. (Qur’an, 39:5)

In the Qur’an, the words used for describing the universe are quite remarkable. The Arabic word which is translated as "to wrap" in the above verse is "takwir." And the verb used is “yokawiru” which literally means make something into a ball shape. Its root is “kawra” which literally means “a ball”.  In English, it means "to make one thing lap over another, folded up as a garment that is laid away." For instance, in Arabic dictionaries this word is used for the action of wrapping one thing around another in a ball shaped such as making a ball out of woollen thread. The information given in the verse about the day and the night wrapping each other up includes accurate information about the shape of the world. This can be true only if the Earth is round. This means that in the Qur’an, which was revealed in the 7th century, the roundness of the world was specifically pointed at..

It is He Who created night and day and the sun and moon, each one swimming in a sphere. (Qur’an, 21:33)

 

. I am sure the Koran like the Bible talks of deserts, sands,
camels, goats but how much discussion is there of glaciers and polar
bears?
 Were the Koran not to have the religious significance that it
does, you would probably be the first to point out that it was written
by “men” based on their knowledge of the world as they knew it and that
did not include ice flows and polar bears.  I do so wish you would give
free reign to your intellect and not constrain it with your religious
beliefs.

Dear Sam, have you read the Quran and verified the above “facts” that you are so sure about?

Dear Sam, do you have any other more convincing arguments?

From a purely logical viewpoint; and as things stand today, evidence from, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, accumulative knowledge, commonsense and logic, increasingly support the theory of intelligent Design as a rational hypothesis.

Every shred of evidence points towards the plausibility of the existence of a Designer:

 

The mathematical probability, the fine tuning in the physical world, the existence of the physical and mathematical laws, the specified complexity in biological life that can’t be explained neither by random chance nor by natural selection.

 

As a mathematician; If I have the choice between two theories one of which the probability of it being true (happening) is one out of two; and the other the probability of it is happening is 1 out of an astronomical number, my logic leads me to assume that the first is more likely to be true.

 

I am not a scientist, nor am I a philosopher, and I don’t have to be either in order to have some understanding of the world around me. I can draw my own conclusions that correspond to my limited IQ, and that make the most sense to my intellect in terms of fathoming the basic scientific knowledge that I have.

I said time and again that based on the hypothesis of Intelligent Design, our experience-based analysis, and on our accumulative knowledge that we possess now; offers an adequate and logical explanation (to my logic, the most adequate) to the existence of our universe and to our own existence.

I am challenging you to give me a more adequate explanation!

Dearest Sam

*It is no good argument just to dismiss my case simply because it involves something you don’t like (a Creator). Examine the logical evidence instead.

*It is no good argument accusing me of irrationality (because I say a God might exist). Refute my case by presenting a better and a more rational one.

*It is no good argument to scorn and belittle those whom you disagree with because they have a different view than yours or because they are a minority, we as active peace groups are a minority; does this undermine the validity of what we stand for? Being a famous scientist does not automatically guarantee you a more favoured position to your argument. What you have to say and the logic you apply is the more important thing.

 Einstein was very famous and he always believed in God, does that make the case for God more plausible just because of his position in the scientific community? I can’t and won’t argue that.

*It is no good argument to tell me that you bet there is a better argument out there on the Web. Show me it in your own words, as I am debating with you not with google.

*It is no good argument to assume that the Quran says this and does not say that when you’ve never read it; while I’ve read it hundreds of times and I memorise by heart some of its chapters.

*It is no good argument telling me to wait for the future until we come up with an explanation.

 

Dear Sam I don’t have the time to wait a hundred years or may be a thousand. My life span does not give the luxury of waiting until something -in the very far future if ever- happens. I need to know now. I need to explain and justify my existence to myself; I don’t want someone to explain it when I am long gone. And I can only do it with the existing knowledge that we have now. If the future generations brings a more adequate explanation, then that’s great. Good for them.

Dear Sam

in my earlier email I told you how important my faith is to me, and that loosing my life is far easier to me than loosing my faith; however, and after a lot of thinking I am prepared to put my faith and my life at the stake! If you do me a favour,

I want to ask you for a simple request; if you do it I will be prepared to give up on my faith.

How about that?

Just out of raw elements; make me a fly.

 

—————————————————————————————–

13- September

Dear oh Dear Nahida,

Where is this all going?

You are so skilful with words and I simply do not have the time to unpick your arguments and research out the relevant information.  Your mastery of the language may well in the end defeat me but it certainly won’t be the force of your arguments.

Imagine I am faced with two competing mathematical theories and I have to choose which one I think is correct.  Naturally I would look at the arguments, but having very little background in mathematics, they would mean nothing to me.  I could ask that they be simplified so I could
understand the two theories, but this would not help as the differences are in the details, which I cannot begin to understand.

Next I look at the people advocating each of the theories and in particular what are their reputations among their fellow mathematicians and most importantly, what kind of a contribution have these individuals made in the field of mathematics?

Then I look at the weight of the evidence supporting each of the two theories.  What is the extent of the books, journals and papers published in support of each theory? Again what is the reputation and what are the achievements of those writing the books, journals and
papers?  Are the books published by reputable publishers and are the papers in established mathematical journals?

I would also look to the mathematical community as a whole and the countless number of mathematicians who initially did not take a view but after examining the evidence have come down in favour one theory or the other.  Once more what is their reputation and what is their
contribution to mathematics?

I might even engage in debate with others who advocate one or the other of the theories but I would be careful to stay at a level where I can understand the arguments.  It would be meaningless for me to challenge a mathematician on either side about the detailed arguments for they could convince me of virtually anything at the level on which they are
operating.

What do I do now?  Google has been a tremendous help.  Previously this process would have taken months even then there would be a questions of thoroughness.

What have I found? One theory has hundreds of books and journals and literally thousands of papers supporting it over the other theory. Whole departments have been created in some of the world’s most famous universities to develop this theory and whole new disciplines have been created to further explore it.

I also find that the vast majority of the world’s mathematicians support this same theory and they include the most famous and well respected members of the profession, mathematicians who have already proven their ability by their contributions to the field.  Perhaps even
more important, they also dismiss the other theory as being irrelevant and the arguments in support of it as being nonsensical.  They even go on to question the mathematical credentials of the few who support the other theory, labelling them as insignificant, despite the fact that
they get a lot of publicity and have massive support among people who know nothing about mathematics.

I am not a mathematician but I would have a pretty strong view as to which theory I support.

Curiously this process is similar to the one used by the judge in Pennsylvania last year when he ruled that intelligent design was not a science.  He spent months listening to testimony of numerous witnesses including the most well known advocates of intelligent design and went
on to find in behalf of those parents who sought to keep intelligent design out of the science classroom.

I guess if I am wrong, I will be in some very distinguished company.

There is one point, which I have raised previously and remain most curious.  The countless, books, journals, papers, university departments and disciplines such as molecular genetics all of which are based on evolutionary principles – what would you have done with them?

One final anecdote.  I ran into an old acquaintance who had worked as an ORT co-ordinator in Africa for Oxfam.  ORT stands for “oral rehydration therapy” and involves getting a packet containing a mixture of sugar and salt to a person, usually a child, who is suffering from dehydration.  The contents of the packet are mixed with water and if administered in time, will prevent death.  Sadly each day about 15,000 children around the world die of dehydration because they simply cannot get access to the sugar and salt solution.

My friend had to quit Oxfam for eventually the work got to him.  He could not say which was worse.  Was it watching a child continually vomiting and suffering diarrhoea, not knowing what was happening to them, screaming in pain until they gradually lost consciousness and
died or was it the agonised look on the mother’s face as she watched helplessly, unable do anything.

He was a chemistry teacher and is thinking of going back to teaching so in talking about science the subject of intelligent design arose. Suddenly his face tightened and I thought he was going to hit me.  What kind of intelligence, he asked, could create and design a living being and then give it the capacity to inflict such horror upon its own kind?

I did not have an answer but if you do, I will pass it on.

Sam,

13- September

————————————————————-

Dear Nahida,

To suggest that Einstein believed in God, in the way that you do is somewhat misleading.

Given your hesitation about using google, I have copied this from one of the many thousands of sites on this topic.

Sam,

———————————————————————

Einstein the agnostic

THINKERS ON RELIGION

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-4


—————————————————————————————————————————–

14- September

Dearest Sam

I have to admit to you that after sending my last email I felt so guilty, I regretted being so insensitive to your feelings, please do forgive me; I didn’t mean to be so harsh in my reply; it’s just my reflexive reaction which reflects nothing but my weakness and thoughtlessness. I am so sorry.

 Dear Sam, my aim of all these discussions was never to defeat you, but rather to present, explain, and defend my views.

I wanted to take your mind on a tour to the other side where you’ve never been before.

I wanted to share my thinking, my perceptions, and my experiences with you.

I understand that you’ve arrived at this point of awareness you are at because (just like me and everyone else in the world) this is precisely where your logic, your mind, your experiences had lead you to.

Each one of us on this planet had found him/ her self here… existing…

 

 So we had to make sense of it all; each in our own way, relying on our commonsense, knowledge and experiences.

 

 By absolutely no means do my experiences or my logic invalidate yours; neither do I have the right to impose mine on you.

Freedom of choice is the essence of our lives, how can we want something for ourselves, yet deny it to others?

 

As for my reply to your question what will happen to all the material about molecular genetics, and similar stuff; I don’t see where the problem is. Why is the worry?

Evolution is not a “fact” or a “law”, it never was. It has been taught as a theory and it should still be taught as a theory; however it won’t be the one and only theory.

 If a theory was capable of explaining a certain phenomenon, then the accumulative evidence came to support it; then it will naturally survive. If it fails and some other theory was more adequate at doing the explanation, supported by evidence; then the theory that can produce more valid evidence will eventually prove it self.

 Within the theory of evolution there is some great and credible contributions; however it’s not satisfactorily capable of explaining many issues such as the origin, the novelty, the variety, the purpose, or the complexity of life; neither does it have the evidence that could account for all the missing links as they’re called.

 Chance, mutation, and natural selection are seriously deficient in explaining the above; most serious of all it lacks the ability to explain purposefulness that stemmed out of utter randomness.

It is not capable of explaining how could some purposeful, conscious, conscientious, moral, intelligent beings come to exist out of utter chaos and disorder and only by mere chance.

 

 Academic freedom and adherence to scientific principles both imply and decree that this freedom should apply to all, including advocates of Intelligent Design.  

The other point regarding Einstein, there is no doubt that he didn’t believe in the personal (human-like) God of the bible as it were; nevertheless he undoubtedly believed in some sort of a God, a Creator. Until the last days of his life he was searching for the ultimate unified theory that would give him an insight into the mind of God as he called it.

When I was a little girl Einstein was my hero, I had his pictures all over my side of the room, I even painted him a picture. It took me ages to convince my sister Dima to put his pictures up! I read a lot about him, his theories and his life, and I cherished many of his quotations.

 

 Who is your hero?

But I don’t like this photo

In our room

My sister Dima shouts

With rage

 

He is an ugly old man

What is so nice about him?

Just take it off

Pleeease

 

But I like him very much

Says I

With wonder

Why can’t you see his beauty?

Look at his twinkling eyes

I think he’s wonderful

 

See how beautiful

His amazing mind

Covered with his wavy grey hair

You have your heroes

So let me have mine

 

Why not divide our room

You take that corner

For all the actors

And the singers

You like

 

And I’ll get this corner

For my Einstein

Don’t you think that’s fair?

 

With much hesitation

She agrees

 

The long winded fight

Has settled between us

The two hero- crazy teenagers

06-04-2006

 

Now to other question about suffering will need another episode.

Nahida

———————————————————————————————-

14- September

Dear Nahida,

You have absolutely no reason whatsoever to feel any guilt about your response.

Good friends do not have to feel any guilt for their responses to one another.  I appreciate and value your response because to me it is a sign that you are comfortable enough about me to be honest and express how you feel.  The fact that you take the time and the energy to
respond is also important for it is a sign that you care.  I only wish I could be more like you in this respect.

I really do believe the world would be a better place if people were more honest and open with one another.
I will tolerate a lot in people around me but playing games and hidden agendas are something for which I have little patience.

Even if someone were to have harsh thoughts about me, I would much rather they tell them to my face than mutter them under their breath.

Sam,

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-5


———————————————————————————————————————–

15- September

The Question of Suffering

 

How could an Intelligent Being allow such cruelty?

A most valid, most important, and most relevant question.

To start with, I am afraid that by talking about this topic, it would be very difficult to be objective. We won’t be able to discuss it from a purely scientific perception.

We can’t -even if we wanted to- be objective; as this issue entails feelings, emotions, philosophy, personal experience. Therefore I find that –here- I can’t be anything other than subjective; reflecting on my own personal life and my personal experiences.

 

The most negative occurrences in the life of a human being can be summarized as such: physical pain, emotional pain (sorrow), and fear.

Contemplating on my own life and like every one on the planet I’ve experienced all; but with such intensity that some times it felt and feels almost unbearable.

As little girl I survived the horrors of war, I watched my childhood being stolen away from me. I witnessed the destruction of a people. I experienced the loss of every thing I loved; including my home, my garden, my relatives, my friends, my village, my identity, even my much-loved books and school bag.

I had to rely on UN food and cloths parcels in order to survive.

I witnessed fighter planes flying so low in the sky -that as a child you thought they’re about to fall onto your head- while bombing villages killing innocent women and children.

At such a tender age, I came face to face with human cruelty and brutality and witnessed their ability to inflect so much pain, suffering, and humiliation upon its own kind.

 I left home as a refugee with absolutely nothing except the two dresses and a jumper that my mum had forced me to put on in the burning heat of Middle Eastern summer.

 She could carry nothing as her youngest baby was only three months old; she had to look after him and his four other sisters; the eldest was only seven years old. For six days we were hiding in a tomb in one of the graveyards in a neighbouring village.

 I lived through a kind of fear that had left its permanent mark on me. Until this very day I still jump when I hear a loud noise; I still tremble when I hear the roar of an airplane.

 

 My family of seven and I had lived for some years of our life sharing one room, living with another family of twelve (in Jordan), then sharing with a different family of ten (in Libya).

At a very young age, I’ve experienced pain, fear, and sorrow that many people don’t experience in a lifetime.

I agonized as my roots were uprooted time and time again; so much so that at the age of seventeen I decided to live an isolated life refusing to talk to anyone, by doing so I was trying to protect my sanity.

 My experiences at the time had taught me that I should never allow my self to make friends or love any one; as every one I loved I ended up loosing or getting separated away from.

 

As a young mother I was severely ill that I thought I was dying, I asked the doctors to allow me to leave the hospital for few hours because I wanted to see “Beauty and the Beast” movie with my children before it was too late; as I didn’t think I’d make it to watch anything else with them let alone watch them grow.

The pain that I went through at the time was so horrendous that it would keep me awake all day and night; they had to use powerful sedatives to put asleep.  

I prayed that no one ever may go through what I’ve been going through.

For four years I was bed ridden, fighting what seemed to be an endless battle with ruthless pain; at some point I couldn’t even hold a cup of tea in my hand let alone making one.

I couldn’t even drive; Khaled used to put me in the car and try to take me out by driving around for a little while just to lift my spirit up. At the end of each trip I’d come home shattered and so exhausted that I would decide I would never leave the house again.

I would read a paragraph over and over and over again without being able to understand a thing. People would be surrounding me chatting trying to cheer me up, yet I wasn’t even able to comprehend what they were saying.

I sat in front of the consultant with tears flooding into my eyes as he told me that this is it for me. Announcing a life-sentence of pain and agony, and advising me that I should stop hoping to become better or be cured; rather I should be looking for ways of coping with my new life-imprisonment.

I stared at him while he was confirming the end of my life -as I knew it- in horror and disbelief, refusing to believe anything he said as my thoughts echoed “who do you think you are? You are not God to be telling me this nonsense”

 

The last episode of my extraordinary -yet very ordinary- life was the loss of my dearest, my greatest, my one and only love.

That episode you and other friends have been eyewitnesses to.

From this summarized narrative of my life you could vividly see that I’ve almost hit rock-bottom of every negative experience that any human can go through:

Loss of physical health and living with excruciating pain

Loss of all material positions even my very own identity

Loss of mental and intellectual capacities

Loss of the love of your life

By going into so much detail about my life I was eager to emphasize the reality that through my experiences I have a reasonable idea about pain and what it means to suffer.

 

Now then, through all what I’ve been through; One Thing and one thing only kept me going, helped me, held me, and carried me through; and that is my Faith.

 

 I could never reconcile my agonized painful existence with futility and lack of purpose.

 

 My logic and my feelings lead me to conclude that if everything came from nothing, if there was no purpose in the existence of the universe, if there is no purpose in the existence of life; then, it’s more reasonable to think that there is no purpose in a life full of agony such as mine, there is no point in living on to suffer more. I.e. there is no purpose in life period.

 The only thing that could ever console and comfort this troubled soul of mine was this faith, this insight and intuition that this can’t all be in vain.

And like a tender mother’s hand stroking her child

Like a soft warm blanket in a cold winter night

Like gentle rain drops drizzling over a parched piece of land

Like a rainbow flowing piercing through thick dark clouds

I feel God’s loving hand

Then…

Then this sweet… sweet comfort that overwhelms you, embraces you as you humbly say:

 Here I am God… exhausted… come to my aid

Here I am God… in much anguish… relieve me… ease my pain

Here I am God… full of sorrow… soothe my hurt

Here I am God… lonely… be my friend and companion.

Here I am God… tiered… help me…hold me… heal me

Here I am God… lost… guide me… show me the way

That distressed soul… that troubled heart would be magically transformed…

Calm would descend… tranquillity and serenity would prevail… joy would overwhelm… and sweet… sweet comfort would embrace you.

You feel helped… held… healed… and carried through.

Even if the pain is still there!

 

 There are no words in any human dictionary or vocabulary that could come near into describing that feeling, all we can do is give analogies.

Never the real feelings

 

Then with time; and in retrospect the wisdom of what you’ve been through will become more apparent.

Like pieces of a jigsaw your life would start making sense; some of the pieces might be very murky and horrible, others might be bright and colourful, each piece alone does not make any sense; yet as they assemble together a beautiful pattern emerges, an amazing picture materializes.

Such was my life.

Such is life.

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-6


 

Hidden dimensions   

My first son Hassan

Was born on April the 9th

 

You might think

So what… why are you saying it

With such a gloomy tune

What is wrong with 9th of April?

 

You have to be a Palestinian

To understand

For on the 9th of April 1948

The massacre of Deir Yassin

Took place

Where every man women and child

Of that peaceful farming village

Was killed in cold blood

No one survived

Except those

Who pretended to be dead

 

As we celebrate the birth of a new born

With joy

We mourn and grief

Lost loved ones

 

In our midst

Nothing comes insular

Nothing is disjointed

No single colours

 

The fabric of our lives

Makes the most amazing tapestry

 

If you hold it backwards

Looking at the wrong side

You’ll see a mirror image

Of shades of a blurred picture

With loops… knots and fraying thread

If you turn it over

It looks much neater

But still you can’t actually see

The full picture

Only colours and shadows

 

But hey… take a little time

And walk backwards

Further back

Look at the tapestry

From a distance

 

You will be amazed

With its outstanding beauty

All these murky shades

That didn’t make sense to you

Even disturbed you

When you were near

 

From far

These dark shadows

Are precisely what makes this piece

So unique

So spectacular

 

These unfathomable hues

Is what give our life portrait

Its depth

And hidden dimensions

 

Since that day of 1948

Many… many babies were born

On April the 9th

 

Our joys are always stained

With hints of sorrow

 

Our sadness is always coloured

With hues of hope

 

Without which

The tapestry of our lives

Will never be complete

Won’t be as rich

Or as beautiful

 

Don’t waist much time

Staring at the wrong side with fury

Turn it over… walk further back… and feel the glory

 

01-04-2006

****************************************************************

Bad things! Good things!

 

You should be more assertive

You should have more confidence

In your skills

And your strengths

People say

 

But I am truly aware

Of my abilities

I can surely judge

What I can or can’t do

 

I am also aware of my flaws

And believe you me

They are so… so many

 

But I am not ashamed

Of my weaknesses

Despite their vastness

They are there for a reason

 

They keep me in my place

So I don’t grow bigger

Than my own shoes

 

I love my weaknesses

I love my defects 

Thank you God

For all my imperfections

 

Thank you for my fears 

For without them

I could live my entire days

Without ever appreciating

How safe my life is

  

Thank you for my worries 

For without them I can never

Fully enjoy peace of mind

And tranquillity

 

Thank you for my pain

For without it

I can only imagine

What others go through

 

Thank you for my grief

For without it

I cannot sincerely feel

 The heartache of others

How else can I ever

Learn genuine empathy?

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-7


 

Bliss and beyond 

A state of delight

Blissful pleasure

Contentment

 Tranquillity

Enchantment and joy

 

If people knew how it feels

They would’ve fought for it

With arms and teeth

 

No privilege… No adversity

No gain… No loss

No health… No pain 

No achievement… No catastrophe 

No triumph… No defeat 

Can Annihilate

Or nullify  

Passionately… with a heartfelt desire 

 I want to share

 

**************************************************

Beyond

This love I have for you

Holds me, lifts me, carries me through

When all is dark

When pain is deep

When love is scarce 

When friends are few 

This love I have for you

Holds me, lifts me, carries me through

 

********************************************

Is it really cruel?

 

People say

What happened to you

Is so cruel… so unfair

To have to lose khaled

 In such an awful way

When you are so much in love

 

I say it is very painful

But not at all cruel

Death is nothing

But a gate way

Everything dies

Everyone dies

Why should I

Be the exception?

 

His journey ended before mine

That’s all

And soon I’ll follow

 

It’s only a matter of time

Before we are together again

We come to life

 Only for a while

 

Also… the law goes

The higher you fly up

The greater is your fall

 

The law goes

The more intensely you enjoy your love

The more painful is your sorrow

This only fair

For some live and die

Without experiencing real love

And I’ve experienced all

It’s not cruel to give something back

 

And to feel more pain

Is not unfair

 

**************************************************************

 With You I am OK

 

Dear Most Compassionate

Show me the truth

As true

And help me follow

 

Show me falsehood

As false

And help me avoid

 

Help me… say the truth

Help me… do the truth

Help me… think the truth

Help me… feel the truth

 

Dear Most Kind

I am lost

Without your guidance

 

Frail

Without your support

 

Miserable

Without your company

 

Dare I run away from You

Except towards You

 

Is there a place to hide from You

Except under your wings

 

The world has wronged me

Forsaken neglected and ignored

Held me responsible as the victim

Declared me guilty while innocent

Put me on trial although oppressed

Imprisoned me for being abused

 

An abandoned child

Blamed for… being…

 

But if You are pleased with me

I can take it all

Nothing else matters

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My atheist friend-8


15- September

Dear Sam

You said that my language skills are the reason that your hypothesis didn’t hold up and not the force of my hypothesis.

 

Here, I am going to try again and present my case to you in very simple words, and very short summary.

 

Considering:

Your hypothesis: there is no Intelligent Designer

My hypothesis: there is an Intelligent Designer

 

I started proving my case by showing you that:

 

1) Your hypothesis is impossible to prove.

 

2)  Adding that the possibility of that of mine is impossible to refute.

 

3) I proceeded by showing you that scientific evidence leans heavily towards mine.

 

4) Then I concluded that my hypothesis in the present day holds more weight hence it offers a more adequate explanation.

 

5) At the end I gave you a challenge that might shatter my case and solve the problems and contradictions that your case have, and that is if you prove to me that life can be produced in the lab; then that will mean that the problems that we face with having to explain life through natural law will vanish.

 

Life throws at us such an impossible challenge. It defies all the natural laws that we know of, it also defies our observation, and our logic; by moving -as you claim- spontaneously and purposelessly from total randomness into perfect order, from chaos into organisation, from simplicity into complexity, from futility and utter lack of commonsense into intelligence, from meaningless aimless situation into producing beings with purpose, morality, intelligence and beauty.

 

Dear Sam

your preference for natural explanations could be reasonable, but if you insist on not being open to the possibility that there may be an Intelligent Designer; while it is impossible to prove that there isn’t one. Therefore, your willingness to adopt such an a priori position, and hold that as superior to facts, reflects a philosophical fundamentalist position as rigid as a religious fundamentalist position.

 

Dear Sam, this is my case presented in simple words and logical order. What do you say?

 

 

———————————————————————————————-

 

15- September

Hi Nahida,

I will follow your format and try to keep this as a summary.

My hypothesis is impossible to prove.
Presumably the thousands of books, journals and articles detailing evolutionary processes mean nothing.  The tons and tons of fossil records are either fakes or misinterpretations.  The evolutionary timelines established by molecular geneticists through examining the
DNA profiles of different species are artefacts that have no relevance.
The thousands of scientists working in departments and disciplines whose sole function is to further develop evolutionary principles are all living in a fantasy world.  The list goes on and on, as you well know.

Actually you can prove the evolutionary processes yourself.  Take a culture of bacteria and introduce a genetic mutation, which gives the mutant an advantage over the rest of the colony.  You can then do the calculations and even follow the change in genetic profiles as the new strain emerges and the old one disappears.  Presumably the emergence of
antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria mean the creator/designer is still at work.

Yes, we are looking at a single trait or genetic mutation and the molecular distance between bacteria and mammal is very great, but the principle is established and much has been published on this process. Some stages in the process are well established, some are supported by limited evidence and some stages remains theoretical. Surely this
cannot be used to claim that vast body of knowledge in support of evolutionary principles is wrong.

Your hypothesis is impossible to refute.
You make a statement that something exists such a creator/designer and challenge me to prove that it does not.  Virtually every other situation would be approached from the opposite view in that the challenge is to prove that something exists.  I am not sure why the
question of a creator/designer should be treated differently and will deal with the evidence for or the lack of evidence for a creator/designer in the next section.

I take vitamin c supplements to keep me from getting colds.  When my doctor challenges me about the value of taking vitamin c, I simply say I have not had a cold since I started taking the supplement and therefore it must work.

I would be curious to know just how one might go about proving that something does not exist.

The scientific evidence supports your hypothesis
This is the most amazing of all your statements and one, which I simply do not understand.  I have gone through your emails and looked at the sites on intelligent design and I have yet to find one shred of evidence that proves the existence of a creator/designer.  All of your
so-called evidence consists of either gaps in our understanding of evolutionary principles or attempts to show that the level of complexity of life is so great that there can be no other explanation. Hence the often used expression defining intelligent design as “God of
the gaps”.

You are in effect saying that because I do not have a complete explanation for something, your explanation must be the correct one. That is certainly not proof that yours is correct.

You conclude that your hypothesis in the present day holds more weight hence it offers a more adequate explanation.

I can understand this if you ignore the fact that the vast majority of the scientific community accepts the validity of evolutionary principles, disregard the mountains of evidence on which they base this acceptance and then use “God of the gaps as your standard.

The challenge to prove that life can be produced in the lab
My background is that of a cell-biologist with my expertise being electron microscopy.  I spent many an hour peering through an electron microscope examining sections of everything from frog pituitary glands to the brain tissue of people who had died of malaria.  I have had no
formal training in evolutionary biology and my knowledge of biochemistry and molecular genetics is very limited.

Your challenge involves an extensive series of complex processes many of which are interrelated.  I noted before that some of these have been well established, some are supported by limited evidence and some remain theoretical.  Some of the best scientific minds in the world have spent their lives working on these processes and continue to do
so.
I am not quite sure how you expect me to surpass them.
I do however adamantly maintain that the lack of all pieces in the puzzle at this particular point in time, does not mean that they will never be successful in meeting your challenge.

I am not willing to accept the possibility of a creator/designer This is not true.  Some years ago I did a brief course in bioenergetics and we were given the formula for calculating Brownian motion. It allows you calculate the probability for the motion of molecules.
However it can also be used to calculate the probability that the chair sitting on the floor next to me will rise up.  Naturally the figure is ridiculous but there is a finite probability.

Thus I accept the possibility of anything. That Santa Claus will bring me a present on Christmas Eve, that I will win the lottery next week, that the moon is made of green cheese, that global warming will destroy the planet or that a plane will crash into the building as I write this email. The movement from the realm of possibility to fact depends on the evidence and this I have already covered.

This is my challenge to you.  I will acknowledge the possibility of there being a creator/designer if you acknowledge the possibility that there is none.

Sam,

——————————————————————————————-

15- September

Dear Sam

You challenged me saying:

 

This is my challenge to you.  I will acknowledge the possibility of there being a creator/designer if you acknowledge the possibility that there is none.

 

This is not a challenge, because right from the beginning of our dialogue dear Sam I said to you that all I have is faith; i.e. my certainty is nothing but faith.

 

You can read my words again; I just copied them as they are:

 

 My intention in writing this is NOT to prove beyond any shadow of doubt that God exists; rather I want to refute the atheistic claim that they dearly hold with a 100% certainty that God doesn’t exists, further I will try to put a logically valid and a scientifically sound case for the former.”

 

We as believers never claim that we hold “The Scientific Proof” of God’s existence; we say: “we only have faith”, “we believe”, we simply say: we have noticeable, accumulative, and logical verifications that support our faith.”

 

 

Dear Sam, I think you have set this challenge for yourself rather than for me, as I already declared that all I have is faith, and that my logic, my observation, and my limited knowledge of science adds weight to the scale of probability –in my view- of the existence of a Designer. Unlike you, I never claimed 100% scientific certainty.

 

My argument with you was to prove to you that you also have nothing but faith. To prove false all your attempts of claiming that your hypothesis is more scientific or that it is the only scientific explanation.

 

I wanted to -logically- shatter your certainty that there is no God; I wanted to show you that your faith of the none-existence of God is not a scientific fact and I proved to you that it is only a faith not science that you cling onto -dear.

 

Your challenge now that you offered to yourself is to acknowledge that your certainty is nothing but faith

Just like me

nahida

smile

The wife of my uncle is a Spanish atheist; I used to have very long and heated discussions about God ever since I met her when I was about 13 years old.

In our last dialogue she ended the conversation by saying in Arabic:  “khalas, inshallah ma fi Allah”

What she actually said means “enough, God willing there is no God”

Everyone burst out laughing

nahida

          —————————————————————————————–

 

16- September

Dear Nahida,

We have finally arrived at the heart of the problem or in this case the question of whether there is a creator/designer or not.
I can approach the question open to either possibility.
You can not.
And so Nahida, that is the reason why religion has no place in science.

Incidentally not all religious people take the same position as you.
There is a debate going on within the Catholic church about evolution with some bishops arguing that the church should accept evolution as fact.

I would be curious to know if the same debate is going on within Islam.
Are there in fact any Islamic scholars who argue that evolution should be accepted as fact?

Finally I think we have truly reached a point where we can agree to disagree.

Sam,

————————————————————————————————————————

16- September

Dear Sam

I am bemused at your final conclusion; you said you are open to either possibility, yet:

1) You want me to accept evolution as a “fact”, where does the other possibility go here?

2) Also you won’t accept teaching the other possibility to children; how is that for being open to both possibilities?

I have absolutely no problem with teaching evolution as long as it was taught for what it really is a “theory” with many holes and gaps and imperfections. Yet you do not agree with teaching the other possibility!

How can you call this being open?

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

 

My atheist friend-9


17- September

Hi Nahida,

Perhaps part of the problem may be with the use of the word “fact” as it implies 100% certainty.
I believe that anything is possible, which means I cannot say anything is a fact. Thus once again it becomes a matter of keeping an “open mind” to all possibilities and looking at the evidence.
I do use the word “fact” when talking about the earth being round and I use the word “fantasy” when talking about the “moon being made of green cheese” but I am aware that these are not absolutes.
Thus the issue becomes at what point do we stop referring to something as “theory” and start for the purpose of language using the word “fact”.  I still remember when I first learned of atomic structure, the teacher referring to it as “atomic theory”.  That is a term I have
not heard in years.  I do not know for how many years after Copernicus, people talked about the “theory that the earth was round” but I would imagine it was a long time.

You are right, when we teach evolution; we have to include the gaps and holes.  But we also have to ensure students understand the weigh of the evidence and the views of the majority of the scientific community are so overwhelming that most would use the word “fact”.  The other issue is that evolutionary principles form the basis of so many other disciples that to talk of it as a “theory” becomes impractical. This is one of the reasons why the phrase “atomic theory” faded from use as so much of modern science is based on atomic structure.

The question of intelligent design becomes difficult because you and I disagree on what constitutes “evidence”.  I go along with the majority of the scientific community and the judge in the Pennsylvania case who all maintain that there is no scientific “evidence” for intelligent
design and that it is not science.

However, as you know, I do not go along with the idea that it should it should be kept out of the science classroom.  When I talk to the Somali children in the science club, I will teach the basics of evolution and always tell them that many people outside of the scientific community, which most likely includes their parents, do not accept this idea but
believe that life and its diversity are the result of a creator/designer.  Those who go into science can learn on their own about the weight of the scientific evidence behind evolution.

Finally you keep asking me to speak of evolution as being a theory and accept the possibility of a creator/ designer.

Fine.  But does that mean you will speak of intelligent design as a theory and accept the possibility of evolution as being responsible for the life and its diversity?

Sam,

———————————————————————————————

 

17- September

Dear Sam

For some one like me- with this trouble-maker, fascinated, inquisitive mind of mine- who is constantly searching for meanings and answers, and who will not be satisfied with half answers; and although Evolution does address important issues such as changes and adaptation in different species, and although there are strong evidences that support it in microevolution, yet it fails miserably -as far as my limited understanding goes- in explaining vital phenomena that I seek to understand as a conscious curious being:

1)     the origin of the universe (coming into being of nothingness)

2)   The origin of life (the mathematical probabilities of random chances offered by Evolution is near impossible- how much luck can science rely upon?)

3)    Explaining the variety, the intelligence, the beauty, the purposefulness, the morality, and simultaneous coexistence of different animal and plant forms and the fact that they rely upon each other for survival, as we discussed in the garden yesterday, it’s as if some one is planning ahead seeing into the future, some one with intelligence and beautiful artistic taste.

 Assuming that accidentally -as you propose- apple trees (for example) evolved purposelessly and simultaneously yet independently from us, how do we develop our taste buds to enjoy the flavour of the apple when we are in fact completely different unrelated species? (Notice that it is much more than just the apple trees)

4)   Explaining the purpose of existence. I talked about this before.

 

Evolution -for me and as it stands now- is capable of describing certain occurrences; but the significant point here is that even if Evolution had all the answers about the missing links and even if it proves in the lab that species do evolve from one another; it still falls very short from answering these above fundamental questions that my mind thirst for answers for.

 This lack of coherence and comprehensiveness in Evolution and its failure to explain all the above; diminishes the weight it claims it has; presenting itself as a theory that explains life.

 

Now then, the big news for you:

Even though I’ve been arguing with you in favour of Intelligent Design that does not necessarily mean that I utterly refuse Evolution and its entire discoveries.

I don’t see the predicament as Evolution VS Intelligent Design.

Accepting Evolution is not the issue for me.

The issue -that might trouble you- is: Evolution does not lead me to atheism.

The concept that life forms can evolve and change with time; does not prove to me that God does not exist.  

To me, evolution does not explain the existence of life or the existence of the universe; therefore it does not necessarily lead -as many people like to conclude- to atheism.

In other words –to me- Evolution is not an alternative to Intelligent Design; simply because it does not even begin to address some of many important questions that my mind requires answers for.

Originating life out of raw elements, and originating something out of nothingness are the big dilemma for me; if you can do either, I’ll be convinced.

nahida

———————————————————————————————-

18- September

Hi Nahida

I agree with you that accepting the validity of evolutionary principles does not prove the non-existence of God.  This would be a view taken by secular fundamentalists. I see no need “to prove” God does not exist, besides I would question if it were even possible.

Explaining the existence of the life, the universe and how it all came about are indeed questions worth pondering.  However I disagree with you in that we must have definitive answers.

I am willing go along with answers put forth by the many great minds before me and those who are currently working on these questions as long as they remain in the natural world. I accept that their answers are not always perfect with only partial evidence for some and theories for others

Pondering these questions can be a great source of stimulation and very stultifying, but the failure to find absolute answers does not bother me. It certainly does not stop me from enjoying the beauty and the wonder of the world around me.  Hopefully someday we will have these answers but whether this will happens in my lifetime, is not an issue.

My concern as I said on Saturday, is to try to live my life doing the most good and causing the least harm in the hope that those around me will do the same.

Sam,

———————————————————————————————-

 

 18- September

Oh dear Sam

Finally I see us coming closer to some common grounds; that is just fantastic!

 

I am open to Evolutionary principles.

You are open to the possibility of the existence of a Designer/ Creator, and you acknowledge that Evolution does not necessarily lead to atheism.

 

We both agree that we can only try our best to live our lives the best we could; by doing the most good and causing the least harm in our relationships with others.

We both enjoy our existence and love life passionately.

 

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed our debate!!!

The sharing of ideas, exploring each other’s minds. Thank you for the opportunity, for your patience and for your time.

nahida

——————————————————————————– 

18/09/06,

Hi Nahida

I agree with you that accepting the validity of evolutionary principles
does not prove the non-existence of God.  This would be a view taken by
secular fundamentalists.  I see no need "to prove" God does not exist,
besides I would question if it were even possible.

Explaining the existence of the life, the universe and how it all came
about are indeed questions worth pondering.  However I disagree with
you in that we must have definitive answers.

I am willing go along with answers put forth by the many great minds
before me and those who are currently working on these questions as
long as they remain in the natural world.  I accept that their answers
are not always perfect with only partial evidence for some and theories
for others

Pondering these questions can be a great source of stimulation and very
stultifying, but the failure to find absolute answers does not bother
me. It certainly does not stop me from enjoying the beauty and the
wonder of the world around me.  Hopefully someday we will have these
answers but whether this will happens in my lifetime, is not an issue.

My concern as I said on Saturday, is to try to live my life doing the
most good and causing the least harm in the hope that those around me
will do the same.

Sam,

 

—————————————————————————————–

18- September

 Dear Nahida,

My apologies for asking you to consider intelligent design as a theory in an earlier email for I think I now understand and appreciate why this is so unfair a request.  It is in fact rather petty on my part and I appreciate your patience.  It is also a perfect example of where I
have failed in my remit to live my life causing as little discomfort as possible to others.

Finally if I were in need of answers for all those questions, the ability to share ideas and explore each other’s minds would be a powerful argument for intelligent design.

Sam

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat & Sam Semoff -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

The rescue


The rescue

Deep… deep inside…

In the land of sorrow… where I reside

Only pain reigns

13512194_1012252555495483_5908059941906667784_n

Love grows rebellious

Hope stands defiant

Passion is resistance

 12565381_905834986151413_6980303396023518969_n

There, as my heart wrestles with sleep

Grief runs deep

Cutting through mountains

In caves and underground

Far beyond my reach

10175007_932268656841379_4052172484926363641_n 

It was raining agony… that day

Restless… agitated… weighed down

Haunted by my nightmare

You’re never coming home

12734144_919172181484360_4954191792844382942_n 

Looking up… into sky

Yelling for help

The soul murmurs

Here I am God… exhausted… give me your hand… come to my aid

Here I am God… full of sorrow… and anguish… ease my pain

Here I am God… hurt and tired… help me…hold me… heal me

Here I am God… lonely… be my friend and companion

Here I am God… lost… guide me… show me the way

12814590_922546594480252_3112681287799501346_n 

Like a dazzling morning at the crack of dawn dispelling all darkness

Like gentle rain drops drizzling over a parched piece of land

Like a rainbow flowing piercing through thick murky clouds

Like sweet scent of love drifting capturing your heart

Like a velvet ruby rose blooming right before your eyes

Like a soft warm blanket in a cold winter night

Like a tender mother’s hand stroking her child

I felt

God’s loving-hand

10917398_10152455201730666_6608663643271239202_n 

Then…

Then this sweet… sweet comfort

Overwhelming

Mesmerizing

Enchanting

Caressing

Transforming

That troubled heart and distressed soul

13217184_1016687168427929_5027722703579553708_o 

In this land of sorrow

Suddenly

Pain is overthrown and Passion regains again

And sweet… sweet comfort falls down as rain

Calm descends

Serenity prevails

Joy blooms

And sweet… sweet comfort falls down as rain

13335826_1087940137946100_8466675239051773889_n

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My secular friends-1


 

A letter -from the heart- to my secular friends

Why defend God and Islam?

 And why now?

Dear friends:

It is the wining of the religious Islamic party Hamas in the Palestinian elections that actually prompted this dialogue; it all started with my response to my dear friend Greg’s response to an article I sent to him.

 Gradually, I felt the need to shed some light over certain issues. Hence I felt the urge to start writing.

I will try to focus on issues within Islam that -I believe – are seriously misunderstood by non-Muslims. Some of these issues have surfaced through the apparent understandable anxiety of my dear atheist friends in their initial reaction to Hamas’s win.

But before I start defending Islam or talking about God; please don’t ever think that I am trying to preach or convert any one here. I really don’t like preaching or moralizing, as I am absolutely terrified of saying things and failing to live up to them.

 Also I am petrified of the deadly disease “I am right and all others are wrong”… (I mean…arrogance) creeping in causing a real down fall of morality and forming a barrier to understanding.

Therefore I welcome with an open heart all responses and criticisms to my letter, as this will only help me understand and appreciate the views of others. Also at this point I’d like to ask you to persevere with me as I appreciate that the topic that I’m discussing might not be one of your favourites!

Here and now, I just am, I try to live what I believe; however, when my faith is misunderstood I feel the need to try to clarify it, because my faith (like many Muslims) means every thing to me.

Simply and frankly my faith is my only reason for….being. Otherwise I would have been gone long ago.

 (Even though- I have to admit- deep down in the bottom of my soul I’d like every one to experience and enjoy the feeling of closeness to God; purely because there is nothing, no joy, no happiness, no pleasure that can be compared to it. It’s really the ultimate bliss … it is heaven). But anyway that is not why I am writing.

I will start by explaining the core of the Islamic faith, by that I mean the belief in God.

 And here, I am going to draw on my own personal experience just to give you a taste of the magnitude and importance of the concept of God in the Islamic society.

About God:

I started asking questions and thinking about the world and later on about my very own existence, and about God, at a very young age. As a toddler I was fascinated by my surroundings, the trees, birds, flowers, people, but more so the sky, how vast! How beautiful! How perfect! It was always urging me to look at, at first to admire and then to question.

 As I grew older my fascination grew deeper, I started to look for meanings and explanations, trying to make sense of what’s around me.

 “What is all this? … Why is all this? … Who am I? … Do I really exist? … How and why I can comprehend the fact that I exist? …. Why am I here? … What is the purpose of my life?”

Endless questions burned in my little head.

I thought and contemplated for many years; and while many of my friends were playing I used to be drawn into this world of mine searching for meanings and answers.

 The only valid explanation for me was that there must be a perfect designer, a mastermind, an intelligent power behind all. If any thing is to have any meaning at all; this was the only conclusion that I always arrived at.

Later on, and as I went through certain experiences I came to feel God in the real sense. God was as real -if not more- than my own reality.

If faith and the concept of God provides a logical explanation to my existence, and if it helps me understand myself and the world around me in a rational manner, if it can give me a sense of fulfilment, contentment and satisfaction, If it enables me to survive adversities of life with minimum trauma and more patience, grace and sanity, if it fills my soul with love, joy, peace and tranquillity, if it makes life more fun, more enjoyable and my experiences more real and intense ; then how and why should I complain?

After all there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

As far as I know, no one can prove that God does not exist, logically, there is a possibility no matter how slim -or huge- that there is a God, if that is the case; I through my faith would have lived a happier life and most likely a happier after-life.

 It’s a win- win situation! My logic concluded.

Why Islam:

As a teenager I started looking into different religions, I read about all major religions and for a while I was attracted to many concepts of Buddhism, but Islam appealed to my reason and intellect more. It made more sense because of the utter simplicity, clarity, and its ability to unite the seemingly contradictory concepts such as:

 faith and knowledge, mind and soul, science and religion, material and spiritual, logic and emotion, political and moral, economic and ethical.

Every thing just blends so effortlessly, smoothly and beautifully.

Moving from the personal to the general, many young people in Islamic  and non-Islamic societies go through similar experiences, those who embark on the path of searching for God, or start a journey of  hunting for meanings of their lives find in Islam a revolutionary way of thinking. It demands a reformed way of living and working for a better world, an ideal world.

The emphases on equality, liberation, and social justice are also land marks that can’t be missed by the seeker. Hence faith becomes inseparable from the daily life of Muslims. Faith is life.

We surrender to the sword of Islam; that irresistible, most tender sword that strikes the mind, invades the heart, and captures the soul.

 That’s maybe why Islam-despite the very negative publicity- is still the fastest growing religion in the world.

God is central:

 Is it not only reasonable then to assume that secular ideology might not fulfil the needs of a deeply religious society; God lies at the core of the society of faith, while denying God is an essential part of the secular.

 Most socio-dynamics in an Islamic society; stems from that belief, starting with God-man relationship, ending with man-nature relationship, including all what is in-between , i.e. the boundaries of personal freedoms, and extents of responsibilities in  the man-man relationship.

That is not to say that it is a rigid society; on the contrary, in fact flexibility and on going debates to advance understanding and tolerance are well noticeable characteristics within those societies. There is no hierarchy system in Islam which allows every knowledgeable, educated Muslim to become part of and to openly contribute to these on going debates.

Another very important point here is the fact that within Islam there are main beliefs and ethics that all Muslims agree with such as belief in God, equality, justice for all, and brotherhood of mankind, also there are differences that stem from man’s understanding, interpretation and adoption of ideas that are deemed to be of less importance, and that can be employed in specific cultures for their own specific needs.

 It’s very important to notice here that many cultural practices might be the cause of wrongly condemning Islam, yet Islam’s teachings might oppose explicitly these practices. What comes to mind here is the example of forced marriage in the Pakistani culture that is in total contradiction with the most explicit teaching of Islam.

 Religion and the state:

It might be true that if a religious ideology actually takes state power it can lead to corruption and abuse, but that’s not unique to religious ideologies alone; It also includes secular ideologies, communist ideologies, and most obvious capitalists ideology…etc. We all remember the Soviet Union and the persecution of all religious minorities; secular France and the ill treatment of its ethnic minorities…etc.

 It is presumptuous to say that if a religious ideology takes state power that it will inevitably oppress and dominate with dictatorship and violence.  Any leadership, regardless of ethnic or religious ideologies, can fall victim to the corrupting force of power.  Why is there a need to single out religious ideologies as the factor most likely to lead to corruption and dictatorship?

Some people might give the example of Israel as a proof of the corruption and immorality of religious states. Israel is truly a state for Jews but I am not sure at all that it’s a religious state, there are religious political parties but as I understand it they are a minority, the far majority of Jewish people in “Israel” are non religious, secular, and atheists (according to their own researches).

 Also when Zionists abuse the fact that Jewish people are entrusted with a great message to all mankind and use it for their own self-interest, it’s not the fault of the message, the messenger nor the faith that they should become selfish, arrogant, greedy and exclusive that they want the land only for themselves.

When some Christians use the pure message of love taught by Jesus (peace be upon him) to justify the crusades or the invasion of Iraq or Iran, it’s hardly the fault of Jesus is it?

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My secular friends-2


 

Muslims behaving badly:

Coming back to Islam, when Osama Ben Laden for example uses the Quran’s permission of self defence, to justify his deeds, and  his hate for Western hypocrisy and injustice, its surely not the fault of the Quran where in it there are indeed verses that talks about self defence, but very clearly and undoubtedly emphasizing that we should never aggress or transgress.

 

"O believers, be you guardians of justice, witness for God. Let not your dislike for a people move you away from being equitable; be equitable – that is nearer to being God-conscious." (5:8)

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight back), because they are wronged; and verily, God is most powerful for their aid; (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,-(for no cause) except that they say, our Lord is God”. (22:39-40)

“God commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and antagonism: He advices you, that ye may be reminded.” (16-90)

"No soul shall be made to bear the burden of another." (35:18)

 But show them forgiveness, and say "Peace!" and soon shall they know!” (43; 89)

“The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God; for (God) loveth not those who are wrong-doers”. (42:40)

‘Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not initiate aggression. God does not love transgressors.’ (2.190)

‘If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is the One that heareth and knoweth all things.’ (8.61)

“But God does call to the Home of Peace” (10-25)

“Ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the desires (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do. Thus, have We made of you a nation justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves” (2-143)

 

 “Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” (7:199)

“It may well be that God will bring about love (and friendship) between you and those with whom you are now at odds.” (60:7)

“Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel evil with what is best: if you do so, he who is your enemy will become a close friend.” (41.34)

Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, once famously declared "Verily I was sent to this World to define (and live by) the Generous Temperament."

According to him, the codes of Generous Temperament (makarem elakhlaq) are seven: “Pardoning those who have oppressed you, Giving to those who have deprived you, Connecting with those who have shunned you, Benefiting those who have abused you, Counselling those who have deceived you, Forgiving those who have maligned you, Forbearing with those who have angered you.”

The root of the word Islam is Salam, which is one of the Holy Names of God.  Salam is Arabic for Peace. The meaning of the word Islam is beautiful as Islam is Arabic for bring into Peace.

The word Salam is used for greeting others. Saying "as’Salam alaikum" to someone means "Peace be upon you!"

When a Muslim greets another person with "Peace be upon you," the greeter is in fact proclaiming a contract of Peace with the other person. Hence, if the greeter has non-peaceful intentions towards the other person, he would be engaging in hypocrisy, which is one of the Major Sins in Islam!

When a Muslim greets another Muslim person with "as’Salam alaikum," it becomes obligatory for the other person to respond to the greeter and complete the contract with "wa’alaikum as’Salam," which is Arabic for "and upon you may Peace be."

“When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. God takes careful account of all things” (4:86)

Based on the teaching of Muhammed, the practice of Islam, the Religion of Peace, revolves primarily around the codes of the Generous and Benevolent Temperament. Applying the codes of the Generous Temperament is called in Arabic Jihad al-Akbar (Higher Struggle) –which is the Major Struggle in the never ending inner war against one’s arrogance, greed, and selfishness.

It’s not the fault of the teaching when some people’s minds are poisoned with feelings of injustice, humility, and helplessness that lead them to inflect harm upon others. It’s not the ideology that drives people to do wrong; rather it’s their limited, imperfect, interpretation that is tainted with their personal experiences, psychological tendencies, circumstances and human flaws and imperfections.

 

 But in all honesty and from my experience working with secular people as yourselves (I’m referring here to my friends members of Liverpool Friends of Palestine) I found in all of you a God-centre-ness that is lacking in many people of faith.

 

 By that I mean within you my dear wonderful friends- that I grew to admire and love so much- there is a noble driving force towards justice equality and perfection, there shines within you a desire to establish an utopian society, a thirst for the ideal ultimate good; and from my humble perception I can only see the divine within you even though you might not recognise it and even deny it.

 

 By the divine within you I mean: In Islam man is created in the image of God ( not at all in the physical sense, as God is Unique, and there is nothing like unto Him/Her as God has no gender, God is above all our perceptions).

 It means that our innate nature is modelled to long and desire to live by God’s attributes and characteristics, to long for perfection for God is Perfection. To long for justice; for God is Justice. To long for love; as God is Love. To long for peace; for God is Peace…etc. So your innate nature is so pure, unspoiled, and well-preserved that you are yearning and working to live by those Godly attributes.

 

 

Democracy and Freedom of choice:

Back to the Palestinian issue , if the world’s support for human rights in Palestine is conditional and dependent on the Palestinians denouncing their religion and ideological beliefs, cultural heritage, and social traditions and adopting a new set of beliefs, alien values and social behaviours that matches what its culture deems acceptable (i.e. extramarital relationships, homosexuality, prostitutes, etc…); that means the world is denying them a most basic human right, the right to think, and live within a chosen ethical code.

“Say: O you that reject Faith (atheists)!  I worship not that which you worship, and you do not worship that which I worship... To you be your Way, and to me mine”. (109:1-6)

“We showed him the Way: whether he be grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will)”. (76:3)

 

We have to come to common grounds of accepting that each culture and civilization has its own unique structure that depends very much on a huge heritage and millennia of accumulated experiences, understanding this and respecting it is vital for the future peaceful existence of human race. Trying to standardise and sum up humanity in the form of Western civilisation is a grave mistake. We can’t simply assume that what is good and right for the western culture is the norm, nor we can accept that it is superior to that of other cultures, and for me this is a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. The Muslim world has suffered enormously from colonial imperialism, military and economic occupation, we are longing for FREEDOM, but the freedom that we long most for is the FREEDOM of THOUGHT.

 To simply assume that secularism is the best for the entire world including Muslims is some how dismissive of our rights to think and make choices.

The Left in the West sees in secularism the best ideology for the world  but to assume that it should be viewed as such by every one else is “kind of arrogance” and appears to me to be a new form of imperialism I dare to call “thought imperialism”.

So please don’t panic if the whole of the Muslim world chose at any point in the future to live by its Islamic values. Without a doubt every society are entitled to self determination including the way in which they want to run their society and how to define their own ethics.

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity”. (3:104)

"And their affairs are (conducted) through consultation among themselves." (42:38)

“By the Night as it conceals; By the Day as it appears in glory; By the creation of male and female; Verily, (the ends) you strive for are diverse. So he who gives (in charity) and is God-conscious, and (in all sincerity) confirms the good, We will pave his way to bliss. But he who is a greedy, stingy and thinks himself self-sufficient, and denies the good, We will indeed pave his way to Misery. His wealth will not be of any help to him when he falls headlong (into the Pit)” (92:1-11)

 You can start panicking if they start treating people with injustice and began oppressing and abusing their power; in that eventuality I’ll be panicking with you and campaigning with you to stop the injustice and oppression; as it’s a well known Islamic principal that it is better to live under a JUST NON-ISLAMIC GOV. or leadership than living under a corrupt Islamic one.

Please remember that what might seem to the outsider as restrictive in our Islamic culture is viewed from within as constructive and that’s simply because we have the family’s best interest at the heart of society, and we put it before the individual, without ignoring the rights of the individual.

Our society is not the sum of the individuals, rather it’s a very strong network of families and extended families, the result is very well bonded social fabric. We also see that we are all born free but our freedom ends where and when the freedom of the other starts. If we choose freely to have some restriction upon ourselves (like modest dress code, abstinence from consuming alcohol or self-discipline in sexual behaviour) in order to have better human relationships what harm is there in that? Islamic society is not a selfish one.

“If any one does a righteous deed, it ensures to the benefit of his own soul; if he does evil, it works against (his own soul). In the end will you (all) be brought back to your Lord”. (45; 15)

Freedom of speech: Another aspect that might worry you is “freedom of speech and expression” again I can reassure you that it is granted through Islamic teachings, but it should not be abused as it is in some places, if freedom of speech will bring lies, slander or insults to create a society where rudeness is celebrated, lies are acceptable, and harassment is tolerable, then I can tell you now that it’s a freedom not welcomed by Muslims.

We appreciate all forms of freedom of speech and expression as long as it does not transgress over the freedom of the other and within the frame work of intellectual debates and honest research of truth and mutual respect of all.

Privacy is protected:

 "Do not enter any houses unless you are sure of their occupant’s consent.” (24:27)

 “O ye who believe! Let not some men among you make fun of others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women make fun of others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong”. (49:11)

 

“O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it…But be God-conscious. For God is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful”. (49:12)

 “O ye, who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done”. (49:6)

In summary: “O ye, who believe, do not let one (set of) people make fun of another set. Do not defame one another. Do not insult by using nicknames. Do not spy on one another. Do not backbite or speak ill of one another."(49:11-12)

 

Minorities: In our Islamic heritage we have so much to ensure the rights of all minority groups; it’s a matter of uncovering, reclaiming and reactivating that legacy that has been frozen for many centuries.

 In a Muslim society the minority groups are referred to as ahl eldhimmeh, a foreigner living in a Muslim land is called: dhimmi which means in  Arabic the protected:  under my dhimmeh, means under my protection that might give us a gesture of the importance of protecting and looking after minorities in a Muslim society.

 

 A well known saying of the prophet “Who ever harms a dhimmi harms me personally”.

 I have to point out that one of the major concepts in Islam is that there is “no compulsion in religion or ideology” (2:256). And remember that throughout history minorities of all ethnic, religious, and ideological back ground have lived peacefully in Muslim lands enjoying full rights and responsibilities. A glaring example is the Christian community living in Palestine for centuries with full rights. The keys of the Church of Resurrection are still entrusted with a Muslim family who look after the church. That was Christian’s choice to reduce the tension between different Christian sects.

‘O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honoured of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware’. (49.13)

“(All) people are a single nation.” (II:213)

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know”.(30-22)

Much of the unnatural hostility that we see in the news today stems from yet again the frustration of many ignorant young Muslims who are aggravated by the injustice inflected upon their brothers and sisters by the west in many parts of the world.

 

  Economy, between socialism and capitalism: According to Muslim economists, Islam offers a highly developed system of wealth distribution that if applied can potentially eliminate poverty and prevent the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few, yet it doesn’t deprive the individual from attaining some rewards for his /her creativity and hard work.

 It strikes the balance between the selfish capitalism and the unrealistic altruistic communism. Having the financial world wrapped in ethical and moral practices bridges the gap between the rich and the poor, and leads to a more just and stable society. Also it’s a system that has at its core the concept of zero interest.

 “God will deprive usury of all blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For He loveth not creatures ungrateful and wicked. Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. O ye who believe! Be God-conscious, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers.”(2: 276-278)

"And from within their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute." (51:19)

“O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied; but be God-conscious. That ye may (really) prosper” (3:130)

 “If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew”. (2:280)

 “Woe to those that deal in fraud, Those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, But when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due. Do they not think that they will be called to account?”(83:1-4)

 “By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye dearly love; and whatever ye give truly God knoweth it well”. (3;92)

 

The Prophet has said:

"He is not a believer who eats his fill when his neighbour beside him is hungry";

 and: "He does not believe whose neighbours are not safe from his injurious conduct."

Why don’t we see this happening now in Islamic societies? It is not happening because we don’t really have a proper Islamic society. What we have are puppet governments that have no interest in applying Islam, because their interests will be severely jeopardised if Islamic principals are to be applied.

And as a whole Muslim societies generally speaking  make most of the” developed” world, that was and still is the battle field of the capitalist imperialist world. Also illiteracy is still very high, in those countries, and understanding and living by Islam is not possible with lack of knowledge.

 That also might explain the lack of practice of Islamic principles in many Muslim societies and the absence of various original values in the daily life of many Muslims today. Despite that fact there is still so much intuitive genuine love and admiration for Islamic principals and for its prophet and teacher Muhammed even in those societies.  

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

My secular friends-3


 

Women’s’ issues:

If your worry is about discrimination against women under Islamic societies, and the anticipation that women will be forced to cover their heads or will be prevented from driving; we aught to be far more worried and in fact alarmed by Secular France’s real actions when forcing Muslim women to take their head scarves off or be banned from work and education.

 I wonder which of these cases deserves our attention. And which of the two cases requires our campaign to protect the human rights and freedom of choice of women?

 Freedoms and equality are not necessarily granted under secular regimes: Secular Tunisia, France, and Turkey, all prohibit Muslim women from exercising their freedom of choosing to wear a head cover in work places, schools, and universities.

Islam clearly values and protects women’s rights, if not sure some research might be worth doing.  And please do not rely in your research about Islam on the media, because just as they have given a one sided view on the Palestinian-Israeli problem, they give – to a greater extent – a misinformed view on Islam. (Remember to include Muslim women views in your request for truth).

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions”. (16-97)

When talking about women’s rights, again we – Muslims – must be allowed to deal with the ills of our societies in our own way, own time, and through our own research; all we need is time to transfer the inherited  fundamental values into the realm of understanding and then practice. No one should try to impose any pre-tried solutions upon us, because your problems are different, your history is different, your present is different, and your attitudes are different.

Women in Europe needed to rebel and go through their feminists struggle to gain some rights and some freedoms, that doesn’t imply that we should take a carbon copy of their experience and transfer it to the rest of the world.

 We have a different history and different reality; at the time of the peak of oppression of women in Europe; Muslim women were prominent figures of society, scholars teaching in major mosques and universities, doctors, poets…etc.

 We appreciate that- like all societies- we have problems, some small and some big; how do we choose to resolve these problems however should be entirely ours, it should not be forced upon us.

The relationship between western feminists and fellow men is one of competitiveness and confrontation, not in our society though… we like to deal with men in a less aggressive way, and we see them as companions, brothers, husbands, and friends. When they transgress we like to be more wise and gentle in bringing them back to their senses.

Western feminists in the past tried solving their problems through the approach that the only way to be equal to men is to be like men, act like a man, dress like a man; from our perspective this is the big downfall of the feminists in the west. They couldn’t hold on to their own femininity in their struggle, without realizing that by doing so they were saying that men are better.

It has been pointed out to me however that many feminists today do not hold the above views  as a  way of women liberation, and that they realise that they don’t need to change at all as women, because they don’t have a problem (good for them).

 It is men who have the problem. That might be true, but again from an Islamic perspective men and women are humans, both have the vulnerability of falling prey to inflicting injustice, and mistreating of each other, man may be to a greater extent (because he is physically stronger -but not necessarily emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually stronger).

 If one party is guilty of injustice we can find means of solving the conflict through education and dialogue. The main idea is that we are not enemies of men we are their complementary partners and twin-halves.

 “The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey God and His Messenger. On them will God pour His mercy: for God is Exalted in power, Wise”. (9:71)

If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them”. (3-124)

“Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it”. (99:7-8)

“It is He Who created you from a single soul, and made its mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love)”. (7:189)

“And among His Signs is this: He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He plants love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. 30-21

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise; for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward”. (33:35) 

Conclusion:

None of us on this earth created him/ her self, we just found our selves here, existing. None of us is perfect. None of us is a god. Through our life experiences, our environment, our personalities, our psychological tendencies, and our intellect we somehow try to find a logical explanation of it all. We try to make sense of our existence, and we adopt the ideology that is more likely to satisfy our thirst for a meaningful existence.

 None of us should dismiss the paths, experiences and conclusions of the other. All of us should find room in each other’s hearts to understand and tolerate those whom we disagree with; as their views are as valid to them as ours to us.

Finally, all I am asking from you my dear friends is to have an open mind, to exercise your principals of tolerance of the other especially when it comes to religion in general and Islam in particular, to appreciate that those 1.9 billion Muslims in the world may have something to say, they deserve to be heard for once.

 I am appealing to your conscious and to your beautiful analytical critical minds to re-examine the concept “religion is the opium of people” in a sincere honest scientific search aiming at understanding the other and in hope for building a better future for all mankind.

It is only through dialogue, communication, and listening to the other that we can come to understand each other.

 Bearing in mind that the stereotyping of us Muslims and categorizing us as such:            

 1) A gang of murderers and terrorists,

2) A group of brainless misguided beings,

3) A bunch stupid fundamentalists fanatics,

4) Or a few intellectual liberal oppressed secularists

 This is indeed an unfair and unscientific representation of the truth.

These are labelling that one gets from the exposure to the media in this country. These classifications demands from every free-thinker serious re-examining and it deserves at least a fairer and fresh new look into analysing Islam and Islamic principals before passing miss-informed judgements, going on repeating in a parrot fashion what the media throws at us.

 I believe that doing so is vital for achieving a society that lives by principals of tolerance and hence a more stable and peaceful world.

 ***********************************************************

 Please note, the numbers after some quotations are their correspondence verses from the Qur’an.

 The reason I used these many quotations from the Qur’an is to demonstrate to you that that the claims I made about Islam is not just fantasy of my own creation.

 All these concepts stem directly from the book that we uphold as Divine, hence we see as sacred, the adherences to tolerance and the strive to live by ethical values, and to respect human rights; despite the deviation of some very angry Muslims from the main stream of Islam.

Further more, we have two main sources of reference books; the first is the Qur’an that we believe is the Divine revelation to the illiterate prophet. That book we believe stayed intact without a single word added to or deleted from it.

For the last 1400 years it has kept its original purity and authenticity; today -and as always- millions of Muslims world wide know this book off by heart including children as young as six-year olds. I think that this is an exceptional and unique quality to the Qur’an, I am not aware of any other book ever that has enjoyed the same effect or achievement.

 The other sources are collections of sayings or doings of the prophet: Hadith. These collections were gathered by people about 150 years after the death of Muhammed. They are not viewed as authentic as the Qur’an; they are prone to human errors and forgetfulness. Yet within them there are so much that emphasizes the teaching of the Quran and enhances the knowledge of the exemplary life of Muhammed.

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Beyond the veil


 

 Beyond the veil

My modest dress that you see

As a sign of oppression

Is for me the symbol of ultimate liberation

 

It urges you to look beyond the veil

To peel the skin

To peep through the physical

The limited… the confined

Straight into the essence

The infinite … the boundless

 

It’s a glaring statement

I am more than just a body

I am a mind… a heart… and a soul

 

Don’t just stop there

At the door… come in

Get to know me

For what I really am

 

It gives me contentment

And great satisfaction

With my femininity

 

It gives me dignity

As I refuse to be portrayed

As a sex object

 

It gives me freedom

To choose my dress

Not only wearing what men desire

 

It gives me privacy and protection

From all undesired attention

For my intimacy I only share

With the one I love

 

Does that make any sense to you?

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Verses of the universe


 

Verses of the universe (cosmic verses):

* Anarchism can coexist beautifully along with supreme order, and that’s actually what’s happening in the model of the universe, beneath all the apparent chaos that we see there are mathematical laws that govern all.

 

* The universe is built upon two major concepts:

Balance and harmony and that translate in human terms as justice and peace.

 

* Cold and darkness are not real qualities of the universe; they are merely shortage of heat and absence of light. So is evil in our lives, it’s not a real entity; it is only the absence of good that makes evil manifest.

 

* Symmetry and repetition don’t exist in the universe, heterogeneous societies and unique beings are the equivalent of that in human life.

 

* The second law of thermodynamics states that energy/matter always disperses, spreads out and moves in one direction – with time- towards equilibrium, so should wealth in human civilisation.

 

* Just like the cosmos from the smallest of its particles to the largest, we can only experience absolute freedom only when living in utter surrender.

 

* Beauty is an original quality of the universe, morality and kind deeds are the translation in human language.

 

* The continuous eternal dance of subatomic particles between existence and annihilation resembles our experience of nearness and remoteness from The One Most Loving.

 

* The motivator of all movement and action in both the universe and human life, and what lies at the core and essence of both is pure unconditional love.

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Freedom through surrender


Freedom through surrender
“Why do you have all these restrictions in Islam? You fast for a whole month. You have to give to charity. You don’t drink. You don’t gamble. Your women are covered up, head to toe. You don’t have a boy/ girl friend. You don’t exercise your sexual freedom. You pray five times a day. You do… You don’t… you do… you don’t… what an oppressed miserable lot you are! Is there any thing that you are actually allowed to do? Where is your freedom For Gods’ sake?”
Dear questioner
From where you’re standing, you are observing the picture from a different angle to mine; you are looking at one side of it. Hold on to my hand and come with me, just over here, to the other side, where I am standing, come for a moment, do not be afraid. I promise you that if you don’t feel comfortable you can leave me and go back any time.
From where I am standing; as a Muslim woman I must tell you, that all these restrictions that you think are imposed on us by some freak religious authority, in order to oppress or control us; this is not at all the case. These so called “restrictions” are in fact self-imposed by the individual, it is the choice of the individual to observe or leave these regulations. There is no state-police watching over our shoulders, following us with a stick to make sure that we abide by the rules.
“We showed him the Way: whether he is grateful or ungrateful (rests on his will)”. (76:3)
“If any one does a good deed, it ensures to the benefit of his own soul; if he does evil, it works against (his own soul). In the end will you (all) be brought back to your Lord” (45; 15)
“He that does good shall have ten times as much to his credit: He that does evil shall only be recompensed according to his evil: no injustice shall be done unto (any of) them” (6; 160)
“On no soul does God Place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns…” (2:286)
Now if we break these points up and examine them closely one by one that might help you –my dear friend- understand them better.

Fasting and charity:

Let’s start with fasting for the month of Ramadan for example, while we are fasting there is no way that anyone would know whether we are fasting or not.
You can simply sneak to any private corner and eat as much as you like, nobody would ever know.
We see –however- in this act of fasting the ideal opportunity to practice self-discipline, and to grow in our awareness of the continuous presence of God in our lives. It is an intensive training course to help us develop within us the concept of God-consciousness. Through it we learn that a bad deed is a bad deed, whether it has been known or seen by people or not.
We learn that God knows that which might not be known to people. God watches over all of us, God knows all. We learn that deception is never an option, if we succeed in deceiving people how can we ever deceive The all Knowing.
While fasting your sensation of hunger will remind you of those less fortunate people who don’t have what you have, you are not only thinking or contemplating about their pain; you are living their pain, and what a perfect way to learn empathy.
When the rich Muslim is urged to give a portion of what he/she earns to charity, he is constantly reminded that he is not the true owner of the wealth that he has. The real owner is the Creator of every thing; the man is nothing but a trustee.
“By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you dearly love; and whatever you give, truly God knows it well”. (3:92)
He will give willingly and out of love. He will give with deep understanding that he is giving the poor their due share and what is rightfully theirs. He is merely a facilitator and a link as God is the real provider for both. He shouldn’t boast about his good work nor should he injure the feelings of the poor.
The poor in return will not have any feelings of misfortune, jealousy, or envy, or the desire to harm or steal from the rich. As he is treated as a real brother with all the love and respect that he deserves.
“O ye who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in God nor in the Last Day. They are in parable like a hard, barren rock, on which is a little soil: on it falls heavy rain, which leaves it (Just) a bare stone. They will be able to do nothing with aught they have earned. And God guides not those who reject faith” (2:264)
What I am trying to say here can be better understood if I give you an example from my own experience.
Before coming to England and while living in Jordan, I used to teach in one of the high schools in Amman and it was brought to my attention that one of the girls in the school came from a very poor family. As teachers we used to help out in whatever way we could, and with my dear husband Khaled we used to go and visit her and her family and help with whatever God provided.
The family consisted of 10 children; the oldest was this 17 years-old student. The father was mentally ill, and hence unemployed. The mother was unable to find a job.
Their house – their entire house- consisted of one small room; it was where they ate, where they cooked, where they studied, where they slept, and outside, a few meters away was the toilet.
Whenever we visited we used to feel overwhelmed with their love and shrouded with their kindness, generosity, and prayers.
When Khaled got his sponsorship to come to Britain to study we went and told them. A few days before our departure the young student came to pay us a good-bye visit. She presented us with a gift… The most precious gift we’d ever received from any body in our entire lives.
It was a hand knitted jumper for Khaled; she had made it her self… I cried. To this day I still have the jumper. I still cry when I see it or think about it.

Can you see what I mean by mutual infinite love and respect? Can you feel the strength of bond and friendship?
I can almost hear you saying here that this is almost an unrealistic dream-like society; it can never be true or it impossible to achieve.
But I say this is the type of society that we spend our lives striving to achieve, we undergo as individuals a great deal of self discipline in order to help the realization of such a society, a society with no divisions, no frictions, no racism, no class structure, no pride, no arrogance, no envy, no jealousy, a society where all are brothers and sisters, caring about each other, sharing with each other.
A real Utopian society. And guess what… it is possible.
As a little girl, my first ever prayer -that I made up- was: “please God let not any ill feelings or hatred ever enter in my heart. And don’t ever let any harm come to any being through my existence”. I still say it today.
“Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel evil with what is best: if you do so, he who is your enemy will become a close genuine friend.” (41.34)
Back to fasting, our intellect is always torn between two opposing forces; on the one hand we have the lower-ego, that manifests it self through the instincts of self preservation and survival. On the other we have the higher-ego, our consciousness that demands from us to comply with morality and ethics that exists within our innate nature.
When we fast we deny the body something that the lower ego considers vital for its survival – food- . When we fast the lower self learns that we can survive without being totally under its control, and the higher self wins one of its ongoing battles with the lower-self. Fasting however requires a lot of patience and perseverance.
It’s one aspect of our ongoing struggle towards self development and self liberation. By trying to fast we feel liberated from the instinctive demands of the lower self. Therefore in fasting there is freedom and liberation.
I can see your point that fasting might help you understanding the feelings of less fortunate people, but how can you justify your dress that veils you totally and forms a barrier to approaching you, how can it be in any way good or reasonable? You may ask

Modesty

Dear friend, that bring us to the second point that I would like to discuss with you, modesty and sexual restraint:
This in-built sexual desire that we have is there for a purpose and that is preserving and ensuring the survival of our species.

By dressing up modestly and by our self-discipline in sexual behaviour we deny our lower ego the desire to attract the opposite sex. In doing so we give a message to our lower ego that we can find joy tranquillity and serenity (sakeenah) if we preserve our sexual urges to be enjoyed only with the one we truly love, not just any passer by.
The essence of this desired relationship would transcend the initial physical attraction; it will even surpass the emotional love reaching out to become an intellectual and a spiritual bond too.
It seizes to be mere desires, lusts, and short-lived physical attraction.
Through the experience of sharing our intimacy with only the one we truly love, we can explore, experience, and attain much deeper levels of closeness.
“Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs: of what the earth produces, as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge of”. (36; 36)
“And among His Signs is the fact that He created for you soul-mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect”. (30-21)
In Western culture people enjoy talking about sex, sexual freedom, sex in the arts sex in education, sex in the city… etc.
They talk about how free and liberated they are having no boundaries, desiring no laws, and recognizing no limits to their sexual liberty -unlike people from other cultures (specially Muslims) who still shy away from this liberation, shun this pleasure, as they impose so many restrictions besieging this much cherished freedom.
However, and like many other things, the way sex is seen, portrayed and glorified as an independent act, detached from moral connections, isolated from ethical values, devoid from deep meanings, is perplexing to a Muslim mind.
This apparent sexual “freedom” is perceived by Muslims as illusive, deceptive, belittling, and demeaning; sex has been boxed in, eviscerated  from the sweet sublime essence that breathes life into that natural act; namely, love.
For love to bloom it requires trust, honesty, devotion, commitment and generosity.
Trust, honesty, devotion, commitment and generosity entail faithfulness, truthfulness, dedication, modesty, and selflessness.

Stripped of morality, commitment and love, relationships would end up disfigured; soulless, short-lived, tedious mechanical behaviour.

Void of love and disconnected from ethics and morality, casual sex is soulless, yet infused with love, it becomes alive, more beautiful and majestic.

When clothed with modesty, honesty, commitment and compassion, when wrapped up with faithfulness, truthfulness, trust and devotion, when beautified with generosity, sacrifice, and altruism, passion soars high and love spirals up, eternal.
It is an emotional bond, an intellectual connection, a spiritual union before being a physical and material relationship. Therefore it has the potential to live well beyond the moment and becomes momentous. Its joy would supersede the limitations of materialism and boundaries of time.
Devoid of all these beautiful meanings and feelings; the uncommitted relationships resulting in casual sexual-acts as depicted in many mediums is reduced into a momentary, robotic act; which drastically diminishes the enduring Constant state of bliss that could’ve been enjoyed.
When you commit your soul, your heart, your love, your body only to the one you love with all your heart; when both of you appreciate that you have never shared intimacy except with your beloved; it makes that bond between you not only powerful, but magnificent and exquisitely beautiful.
Thus, trust prospers, love thrives, happiness blooms, and enjoyment snowballs; remarkably, you find yourself in a most tender, non-vicious, vicious-circle.
So what is wrong with commitment? What’s the big deal about some restrictions on sexual freedom that could incalculably increase your pleasure? And why not accept and respect people’s freedom to be different?
Deeply rooted in the heart, mind and soul; this love will grow and multiply blossoming with endless beauty and eternal delight.
And it’s only then that we get the ultimate feeling of trust. Trust feeds on love, and love thrives on trust.
Your higher self has won again, and your lower self resigns to the fact that you can actually live and enjoy life without the fulfilment of all what it demands or what it deems necessary.
By not being enslaved to lust and desire another battle of the higher self has been won. Another level of enjoyment of our freedom has been achieved.

 

Alcohol

As for alcohol and gambling I don’t think I need much effort to convince you that they are not good for the individual or the society.

Abstaining from them does not require much effort as their ills and problems are self evident. However when you succeed you feel the joy of being able to have control over yourself.

You realise that you are really free to choose to safeguard your mind all the time and not to let it slip into absence by drugs or mind fizzing substances. You are always in a state of full awake-ness; full awareness and full alertness, and you know what..! You are still enjoying life as much as ever.

Again another battle with the lower self has been won.

You free your mind from being enslaved to toxins and addictive behaviours. A higher level of exercising personal freedom has been achieved.

Prayer

Moving on to another point, The Prayer. To start with we realise and understand very well that God Almighty doesn’t need our prayer. God is not insecure or imperfect (glory be His) as to demand His tiny creatures to stand there so many times a day to proclaim His sovereignty, and to admit their weaknesses and guilt. God is above all these human defective perceptions.

“O ye men! It is ye that have need of God. But God is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise” (35; 15)

We are the ones who are in need for this bond. We are the ones who miss out on so much if we live and die without experiencing it.

We are the only ones who benefit from these contacts; it’s through this connection and perseverance (in longing for it) that our thirst would be relinquished.

Through this relationship we discover inner peace, utter trust, ultimate tranquillity and endless love and joy.

“Only in the remembrance of God will souls find peace, trust, and tranquillity” (13:28)

During Muslim prayer we move our bodies. We start standing, saying (Allahu Akbar) proclaiming that God is The Greatest. Nothing in this vast universe is greater, worthy of worship or adoration other than The Creator.

No man, no woman, no authority, no money, no desire, no self-love, no ego, not even my own intellect; none of these have control over my life except The One who gave me that life.

I am not subservient or accountable to any but my Creator. At this point the joy of ultimate freedom manifests it self in the purest of forms.

As we kneel down we proclaim: glory be to God the Magnificent, and as we prostrate, glorifying The One Most High; our forehead -the highest point of our physical body and the symbol of our intellect and wisdom- will be at its lowest touching the ground.

We go through these actions of inner and outer self-discipline, we acknowledge our imperfection, we empty our selves from the lower-ego, the feeling of self importance and self-righteousness, and we strip the lower-ego of its selfishness, arrogance and pride and humble ourselves to its Creator and we surrender pleading for guidance, hoping to be filled with God’s light and love.

Back to this on going battle between the lower and higher self;

As we plead for guidance we acknowledge our ignorance, we admit the limitation of our intellect, and we recognise that we are not always right.

As we ask for forgiveness we admit our deepest faults and bad doings, we also become conscious of our imperfection.

As we glorify God The Greatest Most High, we grasp our insignificance, and we understand that we need not be so proud of our self-righteousness.

We can’t experience and feel The Divine Love without the desire to receive it. In order to receive it we have to ask for it.

When we walk towards God, God comes to meet us running. God will be more delighted with us finding Him than a mother finding her lost baby… a meeting full of tears, joy, and passion.

“When My worshipers ask you about Me, I am indeed near; I answer the prayer of every caller when he calls on Me: Let them respond to My call, and believe in Me: That they may be rightly guided” (2:186)

“Say: “O my worshipers who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of God. For God forgives all wrong actions: for He is ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful”. (39: 53)

“By the glorious morning light, and by the Night when it falls still, your Guardian Lord has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased.” (93:1-3)

“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who are God-conscious: Those who give in times of both ease and hardship; who restrain anger, and pardon others – for God loves those who do good; and those who having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, sincerely bring God to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their bad actions, and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing – for who can forgive bad actions except God? (3.133-135)

We open our hearts and souls, and it’s at this very point of utter humility that we receive what we desire most. We’ll be immersed in and showered with ultimate Divine love.

Then the realisation comes; we can truly humble ourselves yet survive with our dignity intact.

It’s not only that we win the battle with our arrogance but we can amazingly enjoy this experience and long for it time and time again. Our higher ego scores another point, a most vital one indeed, the battle against our arrogance.

Through utter surrender to God pure freedom and beyond can be achieved.

“Just like the cosmos from the smallest of its particles to the largest, we can only experience absolute freedom only when living in utter surrender”.

“Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does declare the Praises and Glory of God, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Exalted in Might, the Wise”. (62:1)

This of coarse is the ideal that we as Muslims spend our lives striving to achieve, we can spend a life time working, trying, struggling, and patiently enduring some times succeeding and other times failing.

This incessant battle between our higher and lower egos is our inner battle for freedom, and it is also considered the corner stone for establishing a just peaceful world. This is what we call the greatest jihad. Its final aim is to achieve the utmost morality in which we can manifest the Godly temperaments that makes us spiritually closer to our creator.

Love and beyond

For us to receive God’s love

We need to open the door to our soul

That door is stronger than selfishness

Heavier than hate

Uglier than greed

More ruthless than envy

That door is arrogance

The only key to that door

Is humbleness

When we can sense our real size

Identify our true ignorance

Admit our imperfection

Recognize our limited knowledge

See the shortcomings

Of our intellect

And humbly kneel down

Prostrate and surrender

Astonishingly transformation comes

The heart that was full of ache

Will be emptied of all ills

And selfish desires

It will be healed

Then filled with love

Joy and bliss

Oh, God… Heal me

Heal my heart… Heal my mind

Heal my soul

Fill me with your light

And fill me with the bounty

Of your love… Amen

 

05-03-2006

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

Freedom through surrender-2


Alcohol

As for alcohol and gambling I don’t think I need much effort to convince you that they are not good for the individual or the society.

Abstaining from them does not require much effort as their ills and problems are self evident. However when you succeed you feel the joy of being able to have control over yourself.

You realise that you are really free to choose to safeguard your mind all the time and not to let it slip into absence by drugs or mind fizzing substances. You are always in a state of full awake-ness; full awareness and full alertness, and you know what..! You are still enjoying life as much as ever.

Again another battle with the lower self has been won.

You free your mind from being enslaved to toxins and addictive behaviours. A higher level of exercising personal freedom has been achieved.

Prayer

Moving on to another point, The Prayer. To start with we realise and understand very well that God Almighty doesn’t need our prayer. God is not insecure or imperfect (glory be His) as to demand His tiny creatures to stand there so many times a day to proclaim His sovereignty, and to admit their weaknesses and guilt. God is above all these human defective perceptions.

“O ye men! It is ye that have need of God. But God is the One Free of all wants, worthy of all praise” (35; 15)

We are the ones who are in need for this bond. We are the ones who miss out on so much if we live and die without experiencing it.

We are the only ones who benefit from these contacts; it’s through this connection and perseverance (in longing for it) that our thirst would be relinquished.

Through this relationship we discover inner peace, utter trust, ultimate tranquillity and endless love and joy.

“Only in the remembrance of God will souls find peace, trust, and tranquillity” (13:28)

During Muslim prayer we move our bodies. We start standing, saying (Allahu Akbar) proclaiming that God is The Greatest. Nothing in this vast universe is greater, worthy of worship or adoration other than The Creator.

No man, no woman, no authority, no money, no desire, no self-love, no ego, not even my own intellect; none of these have control over my life except The One who gave me that life.

I am not subservient or accountable to any but my Creator. At this point the joy of ultimate freedom manifests it self in the purest of forms.

As we kneel down we proclaim: glory be to God the Magnificent, and as we prostrate, glorifying The One Most High; our forehead -the highest point of our physical body and the symbol of our intellect and wisdom- will be at its lowest touching the ground.

We go through these actions of inner and outer self-discipline, we acknowledge our imperfection, we empty our selves from the lower-ego, the feeling of self importance and self-righteousness, and we strip the lower-ego of its selfishness, arrogance and pride and humble ourselves to its Creator and we surrender pleading for guidance, hoping to be filled with God’s light and love.

Back to this on going battle between the lower and higher self;

As we plead for guidance we acknowledge our ignorance, we admit the limitation of our intellect, and we recognise that we are not always right.

As we ask for forgiveness we admit our deepest faults and bad doings, we also become conscious of our imperfection.

As we glorify God The Greatest Most High, we grasp our insignificance, and we understand that we need not be so proud of our self-righteousness.

We can’t experience and feel The Divine Love without the desire to receive it. In order to receive it we have to ask for it.

When we walk towards God, God comes to meet us running. God will be more delighted with us finding Him than a mother finding her lost baby… a meeting full of tears, joy, and passion.

“When My worshipers ask you about Me, I am indeed near; I answer the prayer of every caller when he calls on Me: Let them respond to My call, and believe in Me: That they may be rightly guided” (2:186)

“Say: “O my worshipers who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of God. For God forgives all wrong actions: for He is ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful”. (39: 53)

“By the glorious morning light, and by the Night when it falls still, your Guardian Lord has not forsaken you, nor is He displeased.” (93:1-3)

“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who are God-conscious: Those who give in times of both ease and hardship; who restrain anger, and pardon others – for God loves those who do good; and those who having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, sincerely bring God to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their bad actions, and do not knowingly persist in what they were doing – for who can forgive bad actions except God? (3.133-135)

We open our hearts and souls, and it’s at this very point of utter humility that we receive what we desire most. We’ll be immersed in and showered with ultimate Divine love.

Then the realisation comes; we can truly humble ourselves yet survive with our dignity intact.

It’s not only that we win the battle with our arrogance but we can amazingly enjoy this experience and long for it time and time again. Our higher ego scores another point, a most vital one indeed, the battle against our arrogance.

Through utter surrender to God pure freedom and beyond can be achieved.

“Just like the cosmos from the smallest of its particles to the largest, we can only experience absolute freedom only when living in utter surrender”.

“Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, does declare the Praises and Glory of God, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Exalted in Might, the Wise”. (62:1)

This of coarse is the ideal that we as Muslims spend our lives striving to achieve, we can spend a life time working, trying, struggling, and patiently enduring some times succeeding and other times failing.

This incessant battle between our higher and lower egos is our inner battle for freedom, and it is also considered the corner stone for establishing a just peaceful world. This is what we call the greatest jihad. Its final aim is to achieve the utmost morality in which we can manifest the Godly temperaments that makes us spiritually closer to our creator.

Love and beyond

For us to receive God’s love

We need to open the door to our soul

That door is stronger than selfishness

Heavier than hate

Uglier than greed

More ruthless than envy

That door is arrogance

The only key to that door

Is humbleness

When we can sense our real size

Identify our true ignorance

Admit our imperfection

Recognize our limited knowledge

See the shortcomings

Of our intellect

And humbly kneel down

Prostrate and surrender

Astonishingly transformation comes

The heart that was full of ache

Will be emptied of all ills

And selfish desires

It will be healed

Then filled with love

Joy and bliss

Oh, God… Heal me

Heal my heart… Heal my mind

Heal my soul

Fill me with your light

And fill me with the bounty

Of your love… Amen

 

05-03-2006

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

The Two-Letter Word


 

The Two-Letter Word 

Did you know

That sometimes doing nothing is a Crime ??

 Sometimes thinking nothing is a crime ??

Sometimes feeling nothing is a crime ?? 

 Sometimes saying nothing is a crime ??

For … oppression thrives on silence

A dignified stand -then- can be ever so grand

A brave wise decision would be an inspired vision

A righteous feeling of sadness or anger

Can out-weigh joy delight and wonder

A two-letter word then can be stronger than a sword

 

 When JUSTICE is slaughtered and oppression prevails

When evil is OK and Satan glorified

When GOD finds no room in His children’s hearts 

We have to be prepared then… if only just to say

The two-letter word ! ! ! 

NO

 

The will


 

The will

After the shooting of 4 months old baby Iman Hijjo, I heard a poem on one of the Arabic satellite channels, I drafted a general rough translation, and this poem was the result.

Iman… a baby with a tiny tender body

So soft and pure

A smile ever so beautiful

A gentle touch… delightful face

Big brown eyes 

A baby… a baby with feelings ever so strong

 

You saw those who raped your homeland

Just before you were shot by Zionist … occupiers

With a bullet in your heart

Depriving you of your mum’s sight

 

It’s ok, it’s ok sweet heart

Heaven is wonderful

Heaven is wonderful and it suits you!

A princess so smart

The pain… the blood… the deep wound

Couldn’t wipe away your gorgeous smile

 

They gently wrapped her soft body

With a flag of Palestine

A white lacey veil hugged her hair

Iman the bride of Palestine!!

 

Surrounded with clouds of love

Carried over passionate shoulders

Iman flew over their heads

She saw her mum crying

She cried with a loud voice: mama

Mama, sweet heart don’t cry

Don’t cry!

Don’t cry my open wound

Don’t cry the slaughtered child

Don’t cry my running blood

You are not alone

The stones of my country

The trees of my country

Will speak to you

Mama, bring to life little children

Don’t say they’re only young

A tiny spark… a tiny spark

Can make fires burning with flames

To grow strong  they need strength

Lots of love and heaps of stones

With the call of "God is the Greatest"

Most Kind… Most Just… Supremely Devine

The flag of Zion will fall down

And up will fly the flag of Palestine

 

Their oppression have no chance in the land of purity

Their evil deeds cannot survive

The Holy Land will be free again

A glad tiding from a Glorious Lord

 

Mama, wipe your tears away

Show me your beautiful smile

My death is only a gateway to Heaven

Next to my Lord

Welcomed by angels

Immersed in springs of love and joy

Mama, if they killed millions we will gladly die

We will die mama for Palestine to survive

 

He was a Jew


 

 He was a Jew

After attending a talk by a Jewish person regarding the situation in Palestine, I was very moved by what he had to say, and I wrote this poem 

He was a Jew

An honourable Jew

Speaking with compassion

Siding with the truth

With a big warm heart

A conscience clear and pure

Anti-Semitic we were told

Self-hater he was called

But simply… he was a Jew

An honourable Jew

Supposedly… one of you

With a tiny huge difference!!! 

He has no blood on his hands

Nor did he steal anyone’s land

 

He has a dream just like mine

To go together and visit Palestine

He as a tourist with me, a refugee

Returning back home with no reason to flee

He was a Jew

An honourable Jew


Iman


Iman

images

After hearing of the killing of baby Iman, my son Hassan -then 18- wrote this 

First time parents

So proud of their girl

Still in their teens

She’s changed their whole world

He dreams of his daughter

Growing, drawing a crowd

A doctor or lawyer

Making him proud…

 

But then the shelling starts

And she begins to cry

The soldiers of Zion don’t care

Who will live, and who will die

Her mother’s cuddle feels safe

Feels soft and so secure

And in her mother’s arms she cried

Then the shot

And she cried no more…

 

The pretty face lay at peace

As her tiny body bled

Her little frame was drained

An evil bullet made the hole…

Now a one foot coffin rests for the last time

A foot for every month of life

A foot for every bullet used

To kill this little soul…

Spot the difference


Spot the difference
.
 

.

Generally speaking a crime is a crime

But, to be more precise
Some “crimes” are more “crimes” than others 

I mean… some crimes are crimes

.

And some crimes are

crimes

 

Killing a Palestinian, for example is a crime

A thumb-size paragraph in some daily telegraph

Killing a Jew however

.

 

Is a

.

crime

.
.
A front page cover in every newspaper
Repeated over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over

Now, can you see the difference?

.

Criminals in disguise


 

Criminals in disguise

 Smartly dressed, with suites and ties

Strait faces and yellow smiles

Piercing looks and cold…cold…cold… dull eyes

Swollen with arrogance

In their press releases they express their pride

Of their brave soldiers… they praise their "good" work

Of ethnic cleansing and mass murder

Their smart bombs never miss a target

Its destruction is so precise

 

Killing wearing a suite is quite all right

Desirable and justified

Further more it’s civilized

 

Am I going crazy?

Or is it the world just going mad?

Please just tell me… why… I can’t understand

 

So safe and secure “Aman”


 

"Aman"

Little "Ashraf" of Palestine

Wanted to go out to town

He gets ready as fast as he can

Sparkly eyes and a gorgeous smile

Down in town he wonders around

This is so wonderful… how peaceful

So safe and secure

It is "Aman"

He whispers with a smile

These are big words, I said

For a five year old!

What do you mean by safe and secure?

It means

There is nothing to frighten you

Nothing to make you scared

There is no fear in your heart

Now, do you understand?

He simply replied

  

Aman is an Arabic word which means safe- secure
 

My little visitor from Ram Allah


 

My little visitor from Ram-Allah 

He was only five

He came over just for a visit

All the way from Ram-Allah  to Liverpool

To experience  some "normal" life

Only for a while

Wouldn’t that be cool?

 

Ashraf was his name

Building houses  out of cushions

Then, knocking the houses down

With a bulldozer

Was his favourite game!

 

Do you think  when we go back

Will we find our home… standing

Or will it be destroyed?

Anxiously he’ll ask

  

There is nothing to worry about

No harm will be done to your lovely home

My sweetheart

 

But they’ve got big bulldozers

Huge and ugly ones

And they’ve got so many, many of them

You’ve never seen them but, I’ve seen them all

Every day

Shaking… with tears in his eyes

 

Turning my head… gazing away…avoiding his sad eyes

Feeling so helpless so ashamed

Nothing left to say!! 

 

Ashraf in the park


 

Ashraf in the park 

It was an autumn Friday morning

Children in their schools

Little Ashraf was lonely

How about… going out to the park ? I said

His face lit up with joy

Got ready in no time

 

When we got there

He couldn’t even wait  to put on his hat

So exited… he ran out ever so fast

 

We were delighted to see him so happy

Running… Jumping… experiencing the freedom of no curfew

The freedom to play with no soldiers around

 

My friend Hanifa whispered with joy

Let him do what ever he likes

Let him play… let that be his day

We’ll just watch from a distance

So, he doesn’t get hurt

  

Ashraf ran to the slide

Suddenly… stopping… standing there frozen

Not knowing what to do

 

After a while

He ran towards the swings

Suddenly… stopping… frozen yet again

Not knowing what to do

 

Moved towards the see-saw

He didn’t do a thing

Then he was moving from one ride to the other

Without even trying to try anything

He didn’t know.. what to do

He simply didn’t know… how to play

 

Tears filled out our eyes

And, we decided to go… help him

Show him how to play

 

I convinced him to try the swing

Sitting in the swing… frozen

He begged me not to push

I am scared… I am so scared

He kept on saying

 

Its ok sweetheart

Let’s try something else

That colourful rocket… over there

Unlike the swing it doesn’t move at all

All you have to do Ashraf

Is to climb up the steps to get to the top

 

Clinging on to me

He anxiously said

And then what?

What if the rocket takes off?

  

We moved on to the slide

Where we helped him

To climb up the few steps

All he needs to do then

Is to cross over the wooden bridge

To reach to the other side

He couldn’t move a foot… yet again

 

Hanifa, my friend decided to climb up

To help him crossing to the other side

She gave her hand saying

Come on Ashraf

You can do it

 

Shaking… holding on so tight

He bravely ran towards her

She gave him a big hug

Wonderful  … you’re so brave

She said

 

A big sigh of relief

From little Ashraf, saying

I made it !!

I passed the check-point

 

Why not?


Why not?

I can talk …I can walk

I can touch … I can taste

I can smell … I can breathe

So, why not shine?

I can think … I can blink

I can see … I can hear

I can feel … I can dream

So, why not shine? 

I can give … I can love

I can share … I can care

I can laugh … I can cry

So, why not shine?

 

People say:

You are living on cloud nine 

My reply:

You choose your life… and I choose mine

You are God’s masterpiece


You are God’s masterpiece 

69742_405573392849448_9439061_n

Yes… you

Those magical eyes

When you’re happy smiling

And even when you cry

 12-2

This mind of yours

A universe within

Fascinating, magnificent

By its very existence

But more so, its awareness

That it exists 

DSC00628

That big warm heart

So loving, full of passion

Without even knowing how or why 

image001

Can you keep a secret?

If you promise,

I’ll share it with you…

Did you say yes?

Ok then… listen carefully

 

lg_img_2285

Your desire for love is an in-built yearning

To be with the One Most Loving, God

 

Your hunger for justice is the innate longing

For the Supreme Just, God

 

Your search for peace is truly hunting

The Only Source of Peace, God

 

Your secret wish for eternity is merely a deep aspiration

For the Eternal God

  

Your profound fascination of beauty is purely awe and wonder

Of the One Most Beautiful, God

 

Your appreciation of all creative arts is simply admiration

Of the One Most Creative, God

 

Beware, don’t be distracted by signs on the way

They’re only means to get you by

Don’t mistake them for your aim

Otherwise; your harvest will merely be

Big disappointments and flat empty dreams

A heart full of sorrow confused and jeopardized

Carry on along the path

Your home and final destination

Is the One and Only, God

For… you are God’s very own

Masterpiece

74243_421982971203097_383839388_n

Woodland symphony


 

Woodland symphony 

The last lonely ray of sunshine

Kissed my face goodbye

 Gently warming my soul

A soft blanket of summer warmth

Draws near

Giving my heart a big hug

 In the deep woodland silence

Every language was spoken

With no words at all

I could hear them loud and clear

In my heart within my soul

 Their mysterious charming whispers

Chanting psalms and chatting away

Softly praying with compassion

Tender voices and delight   

In harmony they sang their hymns

I couldn’t help but joining in

 We became one symphony

Showered with bliss,

 Divine love and joy

Heavenly music is found here

Escape the fuss, come and rejoice

 

Finger prints


 

Finger prints

 I often wondered why

Can’t I

See the beauty in a plastic jar

Touch the warmth of an iron bar

Feel the passion of a metallic car

Unlike a rose, a bird, a baby, a tree, a stone, or a star

Suddenly, I came to realize

That all real beauties

From the largest galaxy

To the smallest grain of sand

Carry the same mysterious

Fingerprint

 The one and only

The original

Signature of God 

Yet on the others you read:

Artificially

"Man-made"

 

 

I am


I am

Q: Who are you?

A: A Muslim

Q: Fundamentalist?

A: A Palestinian

Q: Terrorist?

A: A woman

Q: Oppressed?

 

Why paint me using no colour?

Why put me in boxes of your Creation?

Why hurt me with such Determination?

Why judge me with no appreciation?

 

Just light a little candle in your heart

To shed some light

You’ll see me better

No doubt!

 

 Keep me not in the darkness

Out of your sight

Open the boxes and let me out

Hurt me no more

You have no right

See me in full colour

Then, watch me with delight

 

Just let me be who I am

A human

Who chooses to love and serve her maker

Who happened to be a woman

From The Holy Land

Palestine

A refugee with a crazy shoe


 

A refugee with a crazy shoe

Dressed up in school uniform

Beautiful strips of white and blue

With a starched lacy ribbon

Mama ties up my long plaited hair

“You look so smart

My little princess”

With a warm big hug

“Off you go”

She says

 

Ooopppsss

It’s been raining

It’s cold…

My feet are freezing

My socks are soaking!!!

You’re at it again

And you’re still laughing

With a mouth wide open

My crazy hungry shoe!

 

About Chains


 

About Chains

 How strange are chains

They remind me of many things!

Of slavery, of captivity

 Lack of freedom

Injustice, inequality

And oppression

 

Yet, they remind me of unity as well

Of extending hands

 Reaching out

Hand in hand, connecting

And the strength of togetherness

 

The paradox of chains is…

The paradox of life!

 

A cry for peace


 

A cry for peace

We can sit and weep forever

For losing “peace”

In our lives

In our homes

Within our families

In our countries

On our Earth

Sitting down there crying

Can’t bring “peace” safely back home

 

There is only one way

To find the long lost “peace”

Just by being just

For justice and peace come as a one

Hand in hand

If we want just peace

We must have a just peace

 

Only then the cry for peace

Will become the joy of peace

 

 

A crime at dawn


A crime at dawn 


The colour is that of love

So vivid, so loud

When glowing inside you

Nothing can hide

 

The fragrance is that of joy

Twisting and twirling

With a rainbow spiral

Elevating you to heaven

 

The touch is that of passion

Amusement and wonder

Like a baby’s soft hand

Wrapped around your finger

 

So pretty, so graceful

in beautiful velvet dresses

Holding on to one another

As a loving family kind and tender

 

Gently warming your heart

With magical memories of all your loved ones 

Peacefully softening your soul

With words of praise

That you didn’t even know

You knew

 

Gasping for its final breath

This pure innocent soul

Was still giving away

So generously

All its being

Loving unconditionally

With no expectations

 

Along side the dying beauty

Was the murder weapon

Top quality stainless steel, they say 

So sharp it can rip a bone apart

The cold creepy jaw

Sends shivers down your spine

The painful pointy edges await in hunger

To claim the life of yet another victim

 

And if you look closer

With your eyes wide open

You might even see

The blood droplets

Of a dying rose

On the shiny sharp teeth

Of a stainless steal scissors


  

A conversation between two hearts


 

A conversation between two hearts


Joy?! What is joy?

 

It is that feeling

When you start jumping

Up and down?

It is that feeling

When you are beating

As fast as you can!

 

Aha… I know,

But, that to me

Is fear and terror

When f16’s are shelling

Every house in town

I start jumping

Like a mad clown!

Is this really joy?

 

No… No

Joy is that feeling

When you are going

To meet some dear one you love

As if you’re flying in the clouds

Up above

 

Aha… I know

But this is to me

So sad and painful

For I can’t stop the tears flooding down

Looking at my father

Behind the prison bars!

Unable to touch him

Or even kiss him goodbye!

Is this really joy?

 

No… No

Joy is what you get

When you really want

Just to stop all time

Wishing that

The hand of the clock

Never ticks, nor tocks

Freezing that moment

Forever and ever!

 

Aha… I know

But, this is to me

Horror and beyond

When soldiers come dashing

Knocking at the door

Crashing and smashing

Mixing rice flour and oil

Looking for my brother

Who just turned thirteen

Is this really joy?

 

No… No

Joy is so warm

Like,

When you’re wrapped up

In your cozy bed

In a soft blanket

With your cuddly toy!

 

Aha… I know

But, this is what I get

When they start bombing

The late night shelling

I feel hot and sweaty

Hiding under my bed

Scared and terrified

Is that really joy?

 

No… No

Joy is so sweet

Like chocolate and candy-bars

When you start eating

You can never stop

 

Aha… but I don’t know

What is chocolate?

And what is candy-bars?

I guess I’ll never know

What is joy

For I am only

The heart

Of a Palestinian boy


 

The Play


 

The Play

Venue: The Holy Land/ Palestine

Time: 1948 am- 2006 pm (58 years)

Tickets: free to all nations

 

First scene: 1948

 

Shoot them

Kill them    

Burn them

Don’t leave any of them

But.. but sir,

They’re only unarmed civilians

Soldier, these are orders

YES SIR

 Thousands killed, hundreds of thousands made refugees

 

Second scene: 1967 (19 years later)

 

Shoot them

Kill them

Burn them

Don’t leave any of them

But..but sir

They’re defending their homes

Soldier.. obey the orders

YES SIR

Thousands killed ,hundreds of thousands more refugees

  

Third scene: 1987 (20 years later)

Shoot them

Kill them

Burn them

Don’t leave any of them

But..but sir

They’re only children

Order.. I want order , soldier

A NEW WORLD ORDER !
YES SIR
Thousands killed, no one is leaving home
No more refugees!

  

Forth scene: 2006 (18 years later)

Shoot them

Kill them

Burn them

Don’t leave any of them

But.. But sir I DID

And I can’t get rid of them!

To be continued….

 

Simply .. just sane


Did you touch the sky, one day

With finger-tips of love and joy ?

Did you feel the wind, one day

Dancing with your heart … hoy… hoy

Did you hear your doll, one day

Praying along with every toy ?

Did you smell the grass, one day

Breathing hope in and out comes pain ?

Did you slide the rainbow, one day

Ridding wings of angels… painting drops of rain ?

Did you ask your self, one day

Am I really mad

Or simply…just sane !

Solving the problem


 

Solving the problem

 Behind closed doors

In big dark rooms

Men in black and grey

Eating drinking Laughing and chatting away

Gather to discuss our problem

The problem of Palestinians!

 

They talked about:

Democracy, Freedom, Human rights

And a solution, a vision

That will bring peace to the troubled Middle East

 

We can easily solve this, If only

If only -those terrorist- stop their violence

They concluded

 

And as for the refugees

That’s no problem, at all

Just give them some money; compensate

And they’ll all be content

 

Those civilized

Freedom lovers, Peace protectors

Human right defenders, Inventors of ethics

 

Did they not know

That; A man with a knife

Against his throat

Has the right to push His butcher Away

 

Did they not know

That A child, Who grew up Far… far away

Deprived of the love, gentle touch

And warm hugs Of her beloved grandma

Given the infinite universe

Can never compensate her!

 

You are welcome


You are welcome

You are welcome to have my land

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to hear

The weeping olive tree

When pulled down

With the sharp, yellow teeth

Of your ugly bulldozer

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to feel

The agonizing pain

Of my hills and mountains… torn apart

When hit by your merciless missile

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to see

The blood of my poppies

When fallen to the ground

Crushed under the cold metallic chains

Of your vile tank

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to taste

The salty bitter flavor of slavery

Felt by my villages and towns

When under curfew for days on end

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to smell

The burning desire in my orchid’s wounded heart

To be united again with her much missed children

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to hear

The cries of the wind mourning her little ones

Who used to play… flying away

Their black and white

Red and green kites

 

 Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to feel

The tight and shallow breathing of my home and garden

When suffocating by your nasty

Nerve and tear gas

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to see

The tears of my clouds trickling down their cheeks

When punched by the fist of your apache helicopter

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to taste

The sweetness of dignity felt by a stone

When picked up by a little hand of a brave boy

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to smell

The perfume of my earth when taking a shower

Getting ready to embrace the body

Of her beloved child

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to touch

And heal the deep bleeding wounds of my sky

Stabbed by your f16

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you are able to teach

Your heart how to love

Every drop of water

Gushing from below

Or falling from above

 

Yes, you can have my land

When… you can gently hold

Every grain of sand

And tell her how sorry you are

For causing all the pain she’s gone through

 

Yes, you are welcome to have my land

When… you are able to hear

The whispering prayer o<