Tag Archive | spirituality

The Disappearance of Silence*

The Disappearance of Silence*

Only Allah Knows what tomorrow will bring, but today is yours in the making

By Edward Curtin

Silence is a word pregnant with multiple meanings: for many a threat; for others a nostalgic evocation of a time rendered obsolete by technology; for others a sentence to boredom; and for some, devotees of the ancient arts of contemplation, reading, and writing, a word of profound, even sacred importance.

But silence, like so much else in the present world, including human beings, is on the endangered species list. Another rare bird—let’s call it the holy spirit of true thought—is slowly disappearing from our midst. The poison of noise and busyness is polluting more than we think, but surely our ability to think.

I am sitting on a stone step of a small cabin on an estuary on Cape Cod. All is quiet. Three feet in front of me a baby rabbit nibbles on grass, and that nibbling resounds. A mourning dove moans intermittently. I see the wind ripple the marsh grass and sense its low humming. I feel at home.

I am dwelling in silent stop-time.

It strikes me how rare silence has become; how doing nothing seems so un-American. Noise and busyness have become our elements. While I watch the rushes sway, I wonder why wherever you turn people are rushed and stressed. A frantic anxiety prevails everywhere. Whether you ask the young, the middle-aged, or the retired, they all report stress and lack of time.

“It’s crazy,” you often hear them say. “It” is never defined.

Clearly there are powerful forces that profit from this noisy busyness, this connected way of technological consumption, this contraction of time. Everyone seems to have their reasons why they are in such a state, but few imagine how and why it may be “engineered.” They don’t have the quiet time to do so.

Or they don’t want to.

When I speak of noise I am not thinking primarily of the din we associate with city life—cars, trucks, taxis, horns, sirens, congestion, etc.—a world rushing to get somewhere for unknown reasons. That noise, alas, is hard to avoid, even in small towns or suburbs. If I travel a half mile from where I sit in silence, I will encounter such noise as people speed by in cars on their search for a vacation from it.

Being in a secluded spot on Cape Cod for a few days is a luxury. I realize that. So too is having these minutes to write these words. Yet I know also that I am choosing to do so, and that for me the luxury is also a necessity. How could I live without “doing nothing” in silence? Even the computer I am typing these words on tells me I am wrong: it wants to correct my words “doing nothing” to “doing anything.” I’m surprised it doesn’t tell me that I should be having “fun,” though perhaps doing anything is the equivalent.

The noise of modern life is hard to avoid completely, and, in any case, it is the least disruptive of the silence I have in mind. There is another kind of noise that is self-imposed and whose purpose, consciously or not, is to make sure one is not “caught” by silence. As those who flee from silence know, it can be dangerous to one’s reigning assumptions about self and the world. Noise seems more comforting.

We all know people who go from morning ‘til night, day in and day out, without ever pausing to enter the sounds of slow silence. One doesn’t have to look far for them; technology has made them the rule. They race through their lives in the cocoon of technological noise. They’re informed, in touch, tuned in to everything but their own souls. They drown themselves in the incessant noise of televisions and radios, or the busyness of telephone calls, texting, or trivia “that has to be done.” They are always planning, going, organizing, and scheduling activities. Or talking—endless chatter about the weather or shopping or the latest mainstream media’s blaring headlines.

They choose to fill their lives with distracting noise in order to avoid the silence that might force them to confront issues of self-knowledge that are the stuff of great books, true art, a fully human life; self-knowledge that connects the individual to his social circumstances in his historical period; knowledge that might allow them to grasp the sources of the profound anxiety and despair that induces their franticness. This is what C. Wright Mills called the sociological imagination.

For fifteen years the United States has been living under an official state of national emergency and constant, paralyzing fear—a fear that keeps people moving as fast as they can so they don’t stop and look back and see what has happened to them and why and where they are heading—over the cliff.

A forests reflectionIt is another day now and I am sitting in the shade of a tree looking out on a beautiful harbour filled with sailboats. A seagull swoops and sails before me. A strong wind picks up from the west. This water is the playground of the wealthy. Unlike the poor, they can buy outer silence. They seem to have plenty of time to think deep thoughts, such as where did all their money come from. From corporations that are part of the military-industrial complex? By exploiting others? I suspect they use their “free” time to think of other things.

For some reason the rough water reminds me of all those refugees fleeing war and chaos on the Mediterranean Sea. Desperate people. Why must they die seeking refuge? Why must they flee their homelands? Who drove them to the boats? The sea and silence brings these thoughts to my mind? Silent reverie can do that. It can conjure up disturbing thoughts.

I often write about such matters. Most of what I write is serious stuff, what people refer to as “heavy” writing: wars, assassinations, coups, etc.—a lot of history, social issues, philosophical and theological questioning. And I find that many people find it tough to take. They can’t find the time or silent concentration to read it closely and study to see if my analyses are correct. I think they choose not to take the time to enter the cocoon of silent concentration it demands. They will nod or demur, but not delve any deeper. Deeper means danger.

Those hundreds of thousands of fleeing boat people, for example; who is responsible for their fate? Who started the wars that drove them from their homes? Might we be implicated? Do we bear responsibility? Can we be silently attentive enough to hear their cries and explore the facts? Is the noisy busyness a self-imposed distraction from the truth? Do we live in bad faith?

Can we stop talking, stop moving, and stop doing long enough to contemplate such matters?

Can we shut up long enough to listen to what the silence might reveal?

What are we running away from? Are there truths so deep and so disturbing that they must be “silenced”?

I think so.

Slow silence would allow us to understand how the leaders of the United States are pushing the world toward the ultimate silence of nuclear conflagration by provoking war with Russia. Most people are too “busy” and too distracted—and therefore too ignorant—to notice. So for them it’s not happening. It’s not happening, as Harold Pinter said of all the countless war crimes committed by the United States while the American people were hypnotized into thinking otherwise: “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

We were too busy to notice. All we could hear was noise, propagandistic bedlam.

A society suffering from socially induced attention-deficit disorder is a society in a state of disintegration. Focused on the noisy foreground of conventional thinking fueled by a mass media spewing out endless distractions and pseudo-events, most people are lost in a cacophonous mental chaos.

I’m not sure if there is any point in writing these words.

But I am sure that the art of writing implies the art of reading. The writer creates and the reader recreates; both demand silence, a not-doing, the cessation of all noise that serves to prevent true thought. Can you hear me?

The machines must be turned off. “Our inventions,” Thoreau noted, “are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things.”

It is not hard to turn a switch, pull a plug, or press a button; the hard part is wanting to. Harder still, but equally necessary, is the quieting of the mind, the silencing of the incessant internal chatterboxes that accompany us everywhere.

Unless by some miracle we reject the bill of goods of noisy busyness that has been sold to us to sow confusion, we are doomed. That might sound hyperbolic, but it is not. We are being led to the slaughter by crazed elites who are pushing for a world war. We are drowning in lies and more lies, lies compounded by noisy repetition.

“There ain’t nothing more powerful than the odor of mendacity. . . . You can smell it. It smells like death.” That’s what I recently heard Big Daddy say in a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

The Trappist monk Thomas Merton once wrote that someday they will sell us the rain; in saying that he implied that any essential, beautiful aspect of life could be destroyed by a society hell-bent on destruction through war and consumerism. Now that they have sold us noise and speed to eliminate slow silence, we are in far deeper trouble. We can’t think straight, if we can think at all. And clear thinking has never been more important.

Gandhi, the revolutionary, put it perfectly,

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”

Source*

Related Topics:

The Freedom of Silence*

Reflections on the Idea of a Common Humanity*

An Elementary School Has Kids Meditate Instead of Punishing Them and the Results are Profound*

Healing your Creativity after Trauma*

The Space In-between: A Journey through Solitude to Spiritual Growth*

 

The Oldest Qur’an Discovered in England of all Places*

The Oldest Qur’an Discovered in England of all Places*

What a turn up in the midst of Cameron’s regurgitated Blair’s ‘blood for oil speech’ and labelling all British Muslims as terrorists from the cradle to the grave….

Which of His signs would you deny?

By Sara Aridi

Though the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr just came to an end, many Muslims may find that they have yet another reason to rejoice.

In what has been considered a “startling” discovery, the UK’s Birmingham University unveiled what may be the world’s oldest remnants of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy text.

Researchers conclude that the Qur’an manuscript is among the earliest written textual evidence of the Islamic holy book known to survive,” the university wrote in an official statement.

“This gives the Qur’an manuscript in Birmingham global significance to Muslim heritage and the study of Islam.”

Oxford University carried out a radiocarbon analysis of the text and found that the parchment on which it is written could be traced back to the years between AD 568 and 645 with 95% accuracy.

Radiocarbon analysis dated the manuscripts close to the time of the Prophet Muhammad [Birmingham University]

The results suggest the manuscript was written less than 20 years after Prophet Muhammad’s death, as he is generally thought to have lived between AD 570 and 632.

“They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” wrote Professor of Islam and Christianity David Thomas and Professor of Interreligious Relations Nadir Dinshaw, both of Birmingham University.

According to Muslim tradition, Prophet Muhammad had a vision in 610. Speaking through the angel Gabriel, God ordained him to become the Arab prophet. Up until his death in 632, the Prophet and others continued to collect religious revelations that would form the Qur’an.

Most of the revelations were originally preserved in the “memories of men,” the professors wrote, until Caliph Abu Bakr, Islam’s first leader after Muhammad, ordered the collection of all Qur’anic material in book form.

The final written form was completed around AD 650 under the rule of the third leader, Caliph Uthman.

The manuscripts are written with ink in Hijazi – an early form of Arabic [Birmingham University]

“Muslims believe that the Qur’an they read today is the same text that was standardized under Uthman and regard it as the exact record of the revelations that were delivered to Muhammad,” the professors wrote.

The newly discovered text suggests that belief is highly plausible.

“These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Qu’ran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed,” they added.

Preserved on two parchment leaves, the text contains parts of Suras (chapters) 18 to 20 written with ink in an early form of Arabic script known as Hijazi. For nearly a century, the manuscript had been misplaced with leaves of a similar Qur’anic manuscript, which is also datable to the late seventh century.

The manuscript is “one of the most surprising secrets of the University’s collections,” wrote Professors Thomas and Dinshaw.

The Quranic manuscript is part of the University’s Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern manuscripts in the Cadbury Research Library. The library received the texts in 1920 from Alphonse Mingana, a Chaldean priest who was born in Iraq and settled in England after philanthropist Edward Cadbury funded his trips to the Middle East to acquire historical texts.

‘This is indeed an exciting discovery,” wrote Dr. Muhammad Isa Waley, Lead Curator for Persian and Turkish Manuscripts at the British Library.

“Along with the sheer beauty of the content and the surprisingly clear Hijazi script, [this] is news to rejoice Muslim hearts,” Dr. Waley added.

Source*

Related Topics:

The True Furqan Hoax

How the British Empire aka New World Order Sowed Seeds of Destruction towards Islam*

Boy with Cerebral Palsy Memorized Entire Qur’an*

Hafiz Aged Three Memorized the Whole Qur’an*

Madonna Studying the Qur’an!

The Oldest Bible to Date Confirms the Qur’an

Similarities between the Brain and the Universe*

Similarities between the Brain and the Universe*

One should be careful in saying what this means, without understanding the essence of it, and that requires stepping outside science…

We often speak of the universe being a reflection of ourselves, and point to how the eye, veins, and brain cells mirror visual phenomenon in the natural universe. As above so below right? Well check this out. How about the idea that the universe is a giant brain? The idea of the universe as a ‘giant brain’ has been proposed by scientists and science fiction writers for decades, but now physicists say there may be some evidence that it’s actually true (in a sense).

The Study

According to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain – with the electrical firing between brain cells ‘mirrored’ by the shape of expanding galaxies. The results of a computer simulation suggest that “natural growth dynamics” – the way that systems evolve – are the same for different kinds of networks – whether it’s the internet, the human brain or the universe as a whole.

When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighbouring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.

“The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks”, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston. “

”For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works,” says Dmitri Krioukov from the University of California San Diego.

“Here we show that the causal network representing the large-scale structure of space-time in our accelerating universe is a power-law graph with strong clustering, similar to many complex networks such as the Internet, social, or biological networks. We prove that this structural similarity is a consequence of the asymptotic equivalence between the large-scale growth dynamics of complex networks and causal networks.”

Source*

Related Topics:

CERN: Connection between Particles and Influenced Human Consciousness*

Sun’s Magnetic Field 230% Stronger and Affecting the Entire Solar System*

While ‘They’ve’ Been Dumbing us Down Earth’s Vibration has been Increasing*

Paris Climate Change Conference shows Road to NWO Weather Control*

Finding Esoteric Meaning in Everyday Life

Top Scientists Tell Russia Foetus is Human. Ban Abortion.*

Consciousness Science Kept Hidden*

Freedom in Ramadhan*

Freedom in Ramadhan*

By Aqeela Naqvi

The door to a spiritual journey is always open...For millions of Muslims around the world, it is now the most wonderful time of the year. The Month of Ramadhan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and marks the occasion when the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family. Not only is it the holiest month of the Islamic year, it is also one of the most anticipated. You might be thinking,

“Wait…isn’t this the month where Muslims fast for 30 days? Why would anyone look forward to that?”

Contrary to what might be expected, most Muslims await this month with excitement, each with their own uniquely beautiful way of spending it. My own memories involve waking in the dark hours of the morning to the warm glow of a kitchen; gathering around the table to eat Suhoor, the meal before dawn; praying Fajr, the Morning Prayer, then crawling back into the arms of an inviting bed; waking to the stomach’s faint grumbling, a hunger which is suppressed throughout the day as one focuses on building patience and awareness; the echoing call to Maghrib prayer at dusk signalling the completion of the fast; the sitting down to enjoy a beautifully prepared meal, Iftaar.

The fast of the Month of Ramadhan is not just the fast of the body—it is the fast of every sense. The tongue, eyes, ears, and hands, must all fast from doing anything that would cause harm to the self or others. Not only would eating or drinking break the fast, but so would lying, becoming angry, emotionally or physically hurting someone, etc. Through the repeated practice of refraining from certain habits, it is believed that those who fast will eventually be able to free themselves from the grip of the material realm, while transcending into the spiritual realm in order to attain Taqwa, or God-consciousness.

The question arises: if this month contains so many restrictions, why do those who fast find it so liberating?

Throughout the year, we get so caught up in the humdrum of daily life that unknowingly, brick by solid brick, we build around ourselves a prison that cages us and our potentials. We limit our vision to the glimpses of sky we can see between the bars; we make ourselves prisoners to our egos and grudges, notions of pride and self-importance. Instead of making our desires the mounts upon which we ride, we make ourselves the mounts, and hand our passions the reins. Our bodies curl inward, bowing down to the illusions of life. We forget that the world was made for us, not the other way around, and by giving it this superiority, we allow it to tell us, “Jump,” while asking, “How high?”

And then the Month of Ramadhan comes around and tells us—be the master of your desires, not the slave. Through fasting, we do not engage in “doing,” but rather, constantly engage in “undoing.” We untie knots of anger, envy, impatience; untangle ropes of lust, jealousy, ingratitude; unchain ourselves from every fetter that chains by prioritizing the body over the spirit. When our eyes seek to see that which would harm our intellectual development, when our hands seek to do that which would harm our fellow humans or ourselves, when our tongues seek to speak or our ears seek to hear the hidden faults of a brother or sister—we refrain and reflect.

We reflect and understand the sacredness of the intellect and mind of the individual, and the sanctity of the body and character of every human being (no matter their race, nationality, or creed), and understand why they must be protected at all costs.

The Month of Ramadhan reminds us that we are not bodies carrying souls; we are souls inhabiting bodies. It brings us back to our core—a reminder that, if we are able to shake off our earth-bound chains, each of us is capable of reaching unfathomable heights. The idea that there is something greater to live for than ourselves is something that resonates with both the conscious Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Through its physical restrictions on food and drink, the fast urges us that we were not made for a meek existence which is dependent on the limitations of the body. But more importantly, through its spiritual restrictions, it opens our eyes to the elevation that awaits when we are able to break free from the desires which we see as nourishing us, but which are, in actuality, slow and painful poisons.

Through the physical suffering of hunger, we are also reminded to look at the suffering of our soul. When all the distractions are removed, we see it shivering in the corner, being suffocated by the walls we have built around it, thinking we were fortifying it and making it strong, when we were actually caging it in and crushing it.

Day-by-day, our bodily hunger motions us to remember the hunger of our spirit, and helps us to realize that the truest satisfaction does not come when, every evening, we sit down to break our fasts with delicious food (no matter how amazing those kebabs taste); rather, it comes when the spirit breaks free of earthly limitations and is able to taste the essence of the Divine.

Through the hunger of the body, we go on strike against the prison of the mind. Like lights in a too-long darkened house, we switch on our consciousnesses, becoming increasingly aware of our physical, social, moral, and intellectual responsibilities—a silent, yet utterly important revolution.

The Month of Ramadhan asks us many things, but perhaps the most important question it raises is this:

“Do I have what it takes to be free?

Do I have what it takes to walk out of the seeming security of my cell, to blink my unaccustomed eyes against the brightness of the sun?

Can I dismantle the walls while asking myself—why lean against the unforgiving strength of bricks for support, when I can unfurl my wings and rest against the gentle strength of the wind?”

Thai Women Pray at Pattani MosqueThis month forces us to discard the physical for that which transcends it, and ask ourselves: “Knowing that the key is in my hands, do I have the strength to unlock my chains and journey to a swaying field that rests under an open sky; though my muscles strain from being unused for so long, do I have the motivation to run, to walk, to crawl, to keep moving towards that golden place of spiritual exaltation?

“When I walk out the door of that prison, will I ever turn back? Once I smell freely moving, constantly changing air, can I ever return to the taste of stagnation? After this month ends, will I come to hate my shackles, exchanging them for the weightlessness of the sky—or have I become so used to their weight, that I will miss their heaviness on my arms, the security of being chained to the earth?”

The Month of Ramadhan arrives every year like an old friend for millions around the world. Its days are spent in fasting and its nights are spent in prayer, and though it seems like it comes with many restrictions, those who truly understand its purpose know that its provisions do not constrict, but liberate. It is a closing of the doors of the meagre dining halls of this world, and an opening of the ones to the banquet of the Divine. It says: be hungry and feel the fullness of spirit. Refrain, and become nourished. Transcend the body, its desires. Starve the ego, feed the soul.

It takes us by the hand and smiles while saying: Every time you hear your stomach grumble and feel yourself to be weak, remember the strength to persist that lives in the hollows of your bones, remember the potential to change the world that pulses through the crevices of your palms. Every time you feel your senses begin to be pulled towards darkness, remember the glorious light that dances through your veins, remember the lion’s roar that blazes through your soul.

Remember:

Have the courage to shake off your fetters. You were not born to be enslaved. You were born to be free.

Source*

Related Topics:

What’s Keeping You?*

Surprising Benefits of Eating at Night*

The Last Illusion

The Right of Fasting

The Inner Technology of Islam

Sexuality Beyond the Veil 

A Season for Forgiveness

From the Symbolic Ascension to the Ascension of Our Lives

Ramadhan Re-Runs With Baba ‘Ali

Islam is Not a Religion

Letter to the Self #4: Laziness!

Distractions of Life vs. God

The Charity of Love

The Brain Connection: Prayer and Meditation 

Ramadhan in Kenya*

Ramadhan in Kenya*

Filmmaker: Yasser Ashour

Muslims have lived in Kenya for centuries and today make up about 11% of the country’s population. These communities live on the coast in cities like Mombasa – where nearly half of the city’s inhabitants are Muslim – and in the country’s northeast.

Ramadan in Kenya meets Muslims living in Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi and captures their lives and culture in their homes, at work and in their places of worship.

They talk about what aspects of Ramadhan mean the most to them.

Aseef Akram is a 25-year-old halal butcher living in Mombasa. He talks about the “spirit of Ramadhan ” in the city, the culture of openness towards those who are fasting, and about breaking that fast with the coconut dishes of the region.

“For me [during Ramadhan], I tend to be most spiritually connected to my God, my creator,” says Akram.

In the western city of Kisumu, Fauza Asya Kombo picks and sells bananas for a living and is raising five children on her own after her husband died.

Although earning a livelihood can be a struggle, she says,

“When we’ve finished [iftar], we give any leftover bread to our neighbours. Food doesn’t go to waste … Wasting leads to non-belief.”

Arafat bin Taleb, a sixth grader at a shelter for orphans, says the month of Ramadhan acts like a guide [Al Jazeera]

Arafat bin Taleb is, a sixth grader at a shelter for orphans, talks about the peace he gains from his  Qur’anic  studies  and the importance of his faith in his life.

“To me, the month of Ramadhan acts like a guide. If I’ve made mistakes before Ramadhan, I’ll avoid making them once Ramadhan starts,” he says.

From the Qur’an memorisation competitions which attract children studying in madrassas in Tanzania and Uganda – to Akram’s family using the opportunity to eat together to break their fast, Ramadan in Kenya experiences the spirituality, traditions and significance of the holy month through the eyes of individuals who observe it.

Source*

Related Topics:

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) on Ramadhan

Many Forms Of Fasting*

What’s Keeping You?*

Surprising Benefits of Eating at Night*

The Last Illusion

The Right of Fasting

Musician and Bollywood Actress Convert to Islam

Alchemy of the Heart

Generosity in Islam

The Inner Technology of Islam

Where is Your Heart?

Where is Your Heart?

Related Topics:

The Problem is in the Mind, and the Solution’s in the Heart*

The Heart*

Alchemy of the Heart

Thousands of Palestinians Allowed to Pray at Al-Aqsa*

Thousands of Palestinians Allowed to Pray at Al-Aqsa*

Israel has allowed tens of thousands of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories into Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque.

Police said at least 80,000 people from East Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank had gone to Islam’s third-holiest site, for Friday prayers, the first since this week’s start of Ramadhan.

There were also 500 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who were allowed rare permission to pray at the site, an Israeli official said.

They made their way through the Old City’s narrow alleyways and plazas, decorated in areas with lights and lanterns. Sellers hawked prayer mats to passing pilgrims.

Women of all ages and men aged 40 and over from the Israeli-occupied West Bank were allowed into Jerusalem without permits, normally required to cross checkpoints and exit the territory.

Israel’s easing of movement restrictions during Ramadhan comes at a time of heightened tensions with Palestinians and the absence of peace talks.

“While happy to be able to travel to Jerusalem, most Palestinians don’t believe their right to worship should be restricted in the first place,” Al Jazeera’s Nisreen el-Shamaylen, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said.

The freedom of movement of Palestinians is a right guaranteed by international law, but a right continuously limited by Israel, and many Palestinians are skeptical of Israel’s decision.

“Israel is very interested in changing the status quo of the occupation, the most profitable occupation in human history,” Mazen Qumsieh, professor at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah told Al Jazeera.

“Billions of dollars from us are spent on Israeli products because we are captive audience etc. One of the ways that Israel likes to maintain this system is by occasionally letting the pressure cooker kind of release her tension.”

Ramadhan prayers

According to police, 48,000 Palestinians from the West Bank were among Friday’s visitors compared to a few thousand on an average Friday.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Waqf which runs Al-Aqsa, told AFP news agency he estimated 200,000 worshippers were in and around the compound.

Police and border guards were deployed in force with riot gear and assault rifles. Roads were cordoned off around the Old City and barricades were set up near the entrances to the mosque.

White-robed men walked while twirling prayer beads, and veiled local women begged to pilgrims for alms.

Men and boys who had decorated their stores with gaudy flashing lights and blared Quranic recitations out of CD players sold sweets to pilgrims for the breaking of their fast after sundown.

“I am so happy that I am finally going back to Al-Aqsa after a long period,” Tayseir Menniyah, 60, told Al Jazeera.

“The Israeli easing of restrictions is good but we need more easing for all Gazans not only for the elderly. We want to be able to visit Al-Aqsa every day not only every Friday.”

This year was expected to mark the first time since the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s that Israeli authorities permitted West Bank residents to take direct buses from Palestinian cities to the Al-Aqsa esplanade.

But the direct buses were not in place this Friday, with Major General Yoav Mordechai, head of the defence ministry unit which manages civilian affairs in the West Bank, saying it was “due to the lack of preparation of the Palestinian Authority.”

There was no immediate reaction from the Palestinian Authority.

Men under 40 from the West Bank still needed permits to enter, and Palestinian officials say more must be done to allow access for all those who wished to pray to do so at Al-Aqsa, which Jews call the Temple Mount and consider the holiest site in their religion.

Source*

Related Topics:

Israel Weakens Defence of Al-Aqsa Mosque*

Palestinians Flock to Aqsa Mosque Despite Israeli Oppression*

Rothschild Temple: The Conspiracy, the Call, the Plan to Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque*