Yesterday driving back from a quick look in at the lab, I reluctantly made my way to Chapters to pick up some ‘learning to read’ books, for my very little friend who delights me with her presence twice a week so she can be ready for kindergarten, with the very great achievement of being able to read! Reluctant because I disagree with Chapters and their econo-political policy but that is another topic. Similarly the issue of immigrants having to try to teach their kids to learn a language they don’t know very well and the importance of the language barrier is another, but these two are topics for later on.
There I was driving, and being hypoglycemic I find I am not as sharp on the ball as before, so I got semi-lost and then found that I was driving a in a very round-a-bout way to my goal. With the result that I passed by a random multi-family sidewalk garage sale I ordinarily would have never come across. I parked and thought I’d check it out, on the off chance I’d find a book that works and making the same du’a :). Indeed, I did, not just one but a heavy haul for a few dollars. And also enjoyed some pleasant time chatting with lovely folks. Isn’t it amazing, how when it comes to things for kids, no colour, demographic, culture gets in the way. We can all just talk about how the kids love the Dora books… never mind that none of our kids speak Spanish! Anyways, one of those books was an old gem called “The Velveteen Rabbit”. Written in the late 19th century, its a sweet tale of how a boy’s love makes a toy ‘real’. Subhahanallah! in this was a beautiful allegory, how God’s love, often felt as God’s mercy, makes one ‘real’. Really be, really live. Really know oneself and know one’s fit in to the greater scheme of creation (or more simply, ecology). So I sat in my car and finished the book and my soul was eased. Some of the grief of the days before caused by all the troublesome news, dissipated and the ‘nur’ of God glimpsed.
At home later on I was surfing, and again was directed to something that has been priceless. A wrong click and I was in a favourite bookmarked site, where this talk was posted up. Some time ago I had heard Sh. Hamza was going to be talking with Tareq Ramadan. The former, one of the greatest Ulema among us and the latter, one of the sharpest intellectuals out there. Both talking about something incredibly relevant today. The need for ‘reform or renovation’ in the Islamic tradition. Talking about the deeper issue, not just the easily pandered rhetoric that Muslims are misunderstood and Islam is misunderstood. The deeper issue is that Muslims misunderstand or don’t understand Islam. Or have an internal arrogance (or denial, use whatever word you want) that doesn’t allow them to see the problems inherent in our societies. The treatment of women for instance…and I don’t mean can they wear a head scarf or not. I mean are they treated as equal decision makers, given the same dignity within the community as they receive in a University class room for example. The ability to be heard and acknowledged. In short, talking about the essence of Islam.
I’ll stop now and post the link up here. Hope you get to hear it from the masters 🙂 It’s called ‘Rethinking Islamic Reform’.