Wishing you a happy Eid ul-adha and a year that is the brightest so far!
A new book listing the 500 most influential Muslims has just been released by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center (in Jordan) in concert with Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The book recognizes scholars, women, youth, philanthropists, scientists, as well as leading figures in the arts and media.
And yes, as you may guess, Isam and Waqas are also in the list. You can reach the whole list here: http://www.rissc.jo/muslim500v-1L.pdf
Mecca for dummies
Travel with today's editorial writer, Isam B on pilgrimage Imagine standing with his wife and newborn baby in the middle of the Arabian desert and then hear a voice ordering you to leave them - and then even DO IT! Who would do it today?!
It is the story of Prophet Abraham, who after a revelation came out on a long journey, from Palestine to Mecca - with his second wife Hagar and their newborn baby, Ishmael. Forget sterilized pacifiers, travel strollers and sunscreen. Oh you up on the camel and go.
Anyway, Abraham receives another revelation: he must leave them alone and go home again. He checks with his wife, which strangely enough gives him her support. He slips and leaves them in the middle of nowhere. Why does he do it?! Yes, he is 86 years, has prompted long to God for a baby and now he got it. Therefore, he must feel:
Now I also have just to behave. Later in the day Hagar runs out of milk for the little and start to look around - between two hills she runs back and forth for water, food and help.
I stood between the very same hills - in her footsteps I walked in 40 degree heat, with two to three million people from around the world around me. All I have to have two white sheets, one is wrapped about the body and the other on the upper body. The only thing that holds it together is a safety pin.
There is huge distress, so that I cannot avoid going and double-checking, whether the sheet is, as if it has to; who bother to stand butt naked in Mecca?!
At one point I was interrupted by an old woman, while I stood on one hill: 'Do you know what prayer I should say here? "
I had my pilgrimage pocketbook with (a sort of 'Mecca for dummies'), in which everything was - I looked up and pointed at prayer.
She looked embarrassed at me: 'I can not read. "
And there I stood with a stranger on top of the hill against Kaaba (the black-clad 'square' building in the middle) and prayed a prayer. Tears flowed from her eyes as she repeated after me and my broken Arabic.
Just at this moment we complemented each other fully. She thanked and then disappeared into the crowd. Her humility touched me so deeply that it continues to this day is strong in the mind.
She had probably spared up her entire life for this journey, while I honestly must admit that it was an impulse purchase; but which purchase it was.
Eid Mubarek and joyful Eid Denmark.
p.s. The article is originally written in Danish and it is translated to English by online translators.