Archive | October 27, 2010

And He Shows Us His Signs!

And He Shows Us His Signs!

By Hwaa Irfan

Tony Blair is probably the only head of state who has been quietly held responsible for their spearheading of the illegal invasion and occupation on Iraq by their people.  As the U.K. carries the burden of that cost contributing to U.K.s current period of anti-austerity, Blair has been very busy. Since leaving Office, Blair has converted to Catholicism, was paid handsomely for his memoirs, is one of the world’s highest paid speakers, is a handsomely paid senior adviser to the Wall Street Bank JP Morgan (which made a $29,980 contribution to Hilary Clinton’s campaign in the last election), and Zurich Financial Services, governance adviser to the Kuwaiti government; and recently a senior adviser in Silicon Valley. His unpaid roles include peace representative for the Middle East, has a leading role in the African Governance Initiative, the Breaking the Climate Deadlock initiative, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Tony Blair Sports Foundation, and possibly spearheading the planning committee for Brazil’s 2016 Olympics.

Allah comes to who He pleases, and is in need of Him. Sometimes when we lead the kind of life that does not nourish the soul, the soul cries out, or yearns for what is not always understood by the conscious mind.  Whereas Blairs direction in life after leaving Office has taken him in one direction, for his sister-in-law that direction took her into the belly of the beast – Belly of the Beast? Well, in Western paranoid terms, Islam and Iran (along with a few other entities) is the Belly of the Beast. Journalist and broadcaster, Lauren Booth, made her own decisions when it came to a matter of faith, which came as a result of her trip to Iran. Referred to as Blair’s wife’s half sister, (you are either related or not) in the British mainstream press, now wears a hijab, prays five times a day, and visits her local mosque.   

{We directed Moses by inspiration, when his (thirsty) people asked him for water…} (Al-Araf 7: 160) 

It was probably inevitable that Iran would be the country that inspired her as Lauren has worked for the English language section of an Iranian news channel. Prior to her trip to Iran, Lauren observed the strength and warmth of the Palestinian people despite their situation, and was one of the activists on board the flotilla to Gaza from Cyprus in 2008. She was amazed by the Palestinian endurance, fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan in a heat of 100 degrees without effort. To Lauren this represented their ability to withstand deprivation unlike anywhere else. Lauren donated her fee for participating in the T.V reality show “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here to Interpal, a Palestinian relief charity!

Lauren’s conversion to Islam came as a result of inspiration through her visit to Iran, and part of that trip included a visit to the Fatima El- Ma’sumah shrine in the old religious city of Qum. Lauren told the Daily Mail on Sunday:

“It was a Tuesday evening, and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine – just absolute bliss and joy”.

Six weeks after that visit, Lauren took the decision to become Muslim. 

“Now I don’t eat pork, and I read the Qur’an everyday – I’m on page 60! I also haven’t had a drink in 45 days, the longest period in 25 years,” Lauren told Daily Mail on Sunday.

“The strange thing is that since I decided to convert, I haven’t wanted to touch alcohol, and I was someone who craved a glass of wine or two at the end of a day!”

Lauren was impressed by the Iranian pride and willingness to suffer in solidarity with the Palestinians, comparing it with her brother-in-laws expression of solidarity with the U.S. without “… illegal chemical weapons and a million civilian deaths”.

The Shrine

Once destroyed by the Mongols, the Shrine is known for its miracles including curing the sick, the mosque was built by Shah Abbas I, the Fatima El-Ma’sumah Shrine is in the heart of distinguished religious learning, Qum.  The Shrine has always been a focal point to Qum, because Qum’s reputation is as a result of the presence of the Shrine.  The Shrine began life as a cemetery, which was then made open to the public for  the sister of 8th Shi’a Imam Reza/’Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha (contains the bodies of three other members).The Fatima El- Ma’sumah Shrine is one of many shrines for pilgrims in Iran, dedicated to members of the descendents of Prophet Muhammed (SAW). In the form of a mosque, it was built from 1221 – 1519 on two levels with mirrored tessellations of tiny-stuccato blue and green tiles, which has a glow in the night sky.  The balcony is gold in color, and is constructed of multi-colored glass.

Functioning as a mosque where congregational prayers takes place, it is still used by scholars who provide classes for advanced students.  The Shrine is covered in text in praise of the descendents of Prophet Muhammed (SAW). Inside the dome it is written:

“Be aware that whoever dies having love for the family of Muhammad dies a martyr.

“Be aware that whoever dies having love for the family of Muhammad dies forgiven.

“Be aware that whoever dies having love for the family of Muhammad dies with faith and perfection.

“Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, the angel of death and the two angels, Nakīr and Munkar will give him good tidings of Heaven.

“Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, will be raised to Heaven.

“Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, Allah will open two doors leading into Heaven in his grave.

“Be aware that whoever dies having love for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, Allah will make his grave a place of pilgrimage for the angels of Mercy.

“Be aware that whoever dies having enmity for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, on the Day of Judgement, in between his two eyes will be written, “He has no hope of receiving the mercy of Allah.”

“Be aware that whoever dies having enmity for the family of Muhammad, dies an unbeliever (Kāfir).

“Be aware that whoever dies having enmity for the family of Muhammad will not even smell the fragrance of Heaven.”

On the tomb there are various verses from the Qur’an, including the Verse of the Throne, Ayat-ul-Kursi (2: 255).

On the glass wall around the grave is written from the Qur’an:

  • Yāsīn,
  • Ar-Rahmān,
  • Al-Mulk,
  • Hal Atā
  • Al-Qadr  

Also some of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed is written from the Shi’a tradition : 

“Whoever guards his tongue from dishonouring the people, on the Day of Judgement, God will forgive his lapses.” 

“Whoever causes a separation between a mother and her child, God will cause a separation between him and Heaven.”

“A good question is half of learning.”

“God, Most High, helps His servant so long as the servant helps his brother.”

Tessellation

Tessellation in sacred geometry is a fundamental part of Islamic architecture as it is the repetition of a pattern, liken to the cell structure of the tissues that make up our organs – it is mirrored symmetry, which combined with the application of small mirrors, magnifies the affect. The affect psychologically is an altering of one’s sense of time and space, allowing one to access one’s subconscious if one is open to one’s inner voice. 

Sacred places conceived with sacred intention are forms of objective art, and like all objective art, the effect is the same for those who are not removed from their personal truth.

Sources:

Daily Mail on Sunday Reporter. “Tony Blair’s Sister-in-Law Lauren Booth Converts to Islam After a ‘Holy Experience’ in Iran.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1323278/Tony-Blairs-sister-law-Lauren-Booth-converts-Islam-holy-experience-Iran.html 

Jaffer, M. “Lady Fatima Masuma (a) of Qom” http://www.al-islam.org/masumaqum/

McSmith, A. “Tony Blair Gets Another New Job in Silicon Valley.” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/tony-blair-gets-another-new-job-ndash-in-silicon-valley-1982962.html   

Related Topics:

A Sacred Place

Between the Builder and the Architect: Frederick II, and the Castel Del Monte

The Ramadhan Reminder: Taking Time Out With God

Rabbi Albert Lewis: Burning of Holy Texts Dishonors All Faiths

Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self

A Depleted Spiritual Bank Account

Arguing God from Being?

Deep Thinking

Showing Solidarity with Iran

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