Happy Independence Day!
This is the first time I have ever fasted on the 4th of July. All day I was having nostalgia of going to 4th of July barbeques and seeing the fireworks display with my cousins. As I get older and older, I think I’m over fireworks, but every year I go see them anyway and still get that same rush of awe and excitement when I see the colors in the sky.
This year however, while I heard my neighbors lighting fireworks and firecrackers all day in their backyards, I couldn’t help but have some really chilling thoughts. Lately we have been bombarded with story after story of people in the Middle East, particularly Palestine and Israel, being attacked and killed. Today as I heard the commotion going on outside my house, I couldn’t help but feel for the people around the world who hear those same sounds, only they come from bombs and gunshots. With every crack and boom, my heart broke for the kids who hear these sounds daily, and think of fear rather than celebration.
This made me think of a song I heard years ago by Kareem Salama, called Prayers at Night.
When I was young on the Fourth of July
I’d go outside and watch the show in the sky
But little Fatima in Lebanon this July
Went outside and watched the fire chase her life
I’d laugh and play and make my parents smile
And she’d run for her life, that poor little child
So what do I do with these fond memories
When I wake up from nightmares and she lives bad dreams?
The lyrics are just heartbreaking, because what he sings about is such a true reality today. While we in America look forward to that one day a year where we watch a show of colorful explosions in the sky, kids exactly our age see these same images, but are filled with terror.
Now I don’t usually post my opinions related to things going on in the Middle East, mainly because I try to stay away from negativity on my social media sites. I particularly stay away from the Palestine/Israel conflict because I feel like no matter what I say, the only thing people will think of me is that “She’s obviously on Palestine’s side because she is Muslim.”
Let me make something clear. I couldn’t care less what religion the people in that area follow. Whether they are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Atheist, when innocent people, children, are being killed, I sympathize with them and I pray for them.
All day today I was praying for my fellow humans around the world, who on a daily basis face their life being threatened by bombs, gun violence, murderers on the streets, or political persecution. May God protect these people and stop the senseless violence. Ameen.
On a happier note, I’m getting pretty far in the Qur’an! I am in the middle of the 9th juz, almost finished with Surat Al-A’raaf (Chapter 7, “The Heights”).
I am also loving the Martin Lings book. Today I read the story of the marriage of Prophet Muhammad’s (S) parents! I learned for the first time that it was actually a double wedding, of the Prophet’s (S) parents and Abd Al-Muttalib to another one of his wives. Lings describes it as a very festive and exciting day, which I can imagine it was.
The quote I want to share today is from a description Lings gives of the life of the Arab nomads at the beginning of one of the chapters. It is really poetic.
Nobility and freedom were inseparable and the nomad was free. In the desert a man was conscious of being the lord of space, and in virtue of that lordship he escaped in a sense from the domination of time. By striking camp he sloughed off his yesterdays; and tomorrow seemed less of a fatality if its where as well as its when had yet to come. But the townsman was prisoner; and to be fixed in one place, – yesterday, today, tomorrow – was to be a target for time, the ruiner of all things.
This could totally relate to how things are today. I’ve heard this before in my psychology classes, but humans, particularly here in the U.S., are slaves to time. But by living in the style of a nomad, we may be bound to nothing. I’m not saying everyone should go become a nomad, but it’s just something interesting to think about.
I love finding paradoxes like this.
So…funny thing about iftar. I don’t have a picture of the day for you. We just quickly broke out fasts and then went to watch the fireworks, so I didn’t really eat dinner. Hopefully that won’t affect me tomorrow. InshaAllah. (By the will of God)