Insularity – A Sign of the Hour

People love end-of-times prophecies. Muslims are no different. I quick visit to Youtube will reveal that Muslims equally revel in the coming apocalypse. Yet it seems that its onset will not be akin to a Michael Bay film, all slow motion and explosions — that part comes later. But rather it seems that it will be more subtle and even more terrifying and apparently we’ll play a hand in our own demise. And while the Hour cannot be hastened or put off, this prophetic narration gives pause to an all too familiar staple at far too many of our houses of worship. May Allah save us from ourselves.

Androgyny – A Sign of the End of Times

In Islam, androgyny as well as homosexuality is seen as something sinful — “cursed”, to quote the Prophet, as well as being a Sign of the Hour. Today, many see this attitude, commonly expressed in various revealed religious traditions, as hateful and unenlightened. Yet I came across a curious revelation in an eastern spiritual tradition which seems to concur (many in the West view eastern spiritual traditions as being “open” and “non-judgmental”).

“In the practice of medicine there is a differentiation of treatment according to the Yin and Yang of men and women. There is also a difference in pulse. In the last fifty years, however, men’s pulse has become the same as women’s. Noticing this, in the treatment of eye disease I applied women’s treatment to men and found it suitable. When I observed the application of men’s treatment to men, there was no result. Thus I knew that men’s spirit had weakened and that they had become the same as women, and the end of the world had come. Since I witnessed this with certainty, I kept it a secret.”from the Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Much of the Muslim imagination today is mired in reactionary exchanges with popular culture. A prime example of this is the myopic fixation on homosexuality versus a broader critique and response to the androgenization of society. Either way I found, not for the first time, a kindred spirit in Tsunetomo’s lament, losely translated as “fallen leaves”.

Detroit Trip 2017

It’s been two years since I’ve been back home. I’ve had lots to reflect on this time.

There’s so much that can be said about this picture. This was the house I was born in – in Detroit. Its tragedy is apparent in its front door that has been kicked in; windows smashed; the roof burned. Amazing that it still stands. God alone knows how many decades it’s been open, exposed to the elements. And even more tragically is this is now an all too common image of Detroit homes: total devastation. And yet it reminds me of so many paths I did not take; so many I was protected from. And while I have attained neither fame nor fortune, God has clearly been the Writer of my destiny. Like when He said to His Prophet, “Did He not find you orphaned and shelter you? Did He not find you wandering and guide you? Did He not find you impoverished and enrich you?” (أَلَم يَجِدكَ يَتيمًا فَآوىٰ وَوَجَدَكَ ضالًّا فَهَدىٰ وَوَجَدَكَ عائِلًا فَأَغنىٰ). I had always harbored a secret hope of one day being able to purchase the house we were forced to abandon. But like so many things in life, you simply have to let go:

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It’s like that line from The Princess Bride when Inigo Montoya “goes back to the beginning”: