First trip to the sea

Bismillah Rahman ar-Raheem. I don’t remember the first time I went to the sea. My parents and I travelled a lot when I was little and I don’t think they would remember that first moment either. In the summer we went on a little family outing to the seaside, and Insha’Allah I will not forget it. […]

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Some thoughts on Obedience

Bismillah Rahman Ar-Raheem. Obedience is an interesting thing. In the West it used to be considered good, but these days is mostly regarded as bad but with limits. Rebels are revered but the rebel shouldn’t be TOO rebellious in that the rebellion pushes the unseen boundaries of respectable rebellion, the rebel becoming a criminal. For example […]

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What to say?

Bismillah Rahman Ar-Raheem The times are turbulent. Needless to say. There seems to be no end to suffering. Everyone is the injured one. People dying on the streets in cold blood. Death falling from the skies. Each person, government, behind the trigger, behind the button justifying their acts of violence. Who do we feel most? […]

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What would you do?

Bismillah Rahman ar-Raheem. Today I am feeling a loss of hope in humanity. When I think of all the suffering that is happening right now, my stomach turns. How can I sit here in my quiet little corner, living in the luxury of peace, of safety. My children have not experienced the terror of bombings, […]

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Portrait of a Matriarch…

A short sturdy lady came towards me. Exuding strength, warmth, kindness, generosity, and an uncompromising self. She smiled greeting me with the booming greetings of the desert. At least 3 minutes dedicated to the ritual. Allah hayki, kaif haliki, shlownki, Al-hamdulilah, Allah maki, Halla ya halla, Allah HAYki. She kisses my cheek, grasps my head, then […]

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Wilfred Thesiger – Across the Empty Quarter

It is characteristic of Bedu to do things by extremes, to be either wildly generous or unbelievably mean, very patient or almost hysterically excitable, to be incredibly brave or to panic for no apparent reason. Ascetic by nature, they derive satisfaction from the bare simplicity of their lives and scorn the amenities which others would judge essential. Although, on the rare occasions that offer, they eat enormously, I have never met a Bedu who was greedy. …. Bedu set great score by human dignity, and most of them would prefer to watch a man die rather than see him humiliated.

Always reserved in front of strangers and accustomed on formal occasions to sit for hours motionless and in silence, they are a garrulous, lighthearted race. But … they can become uncompromisingly puritanical, quick to frown on all amusement, regarding song and music as a sin and laughter as unseemly. Probably no other people, either as a race or as individuals, combine so many conflicting qualities in such an extreme degree

Across the Empty Quarter – Wilfred Thesiger, 2007, Penguin.p.46-7. This short book consists of extracts from the novel: Arabian sands, 1959

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Tolerance and tranquility

Bismillah Rahman ar-Raheem Your Culture is what you do and think without thinking about it. Those unspoken things you have learned from your parents, family group, and the wider society you have grown up in. If you had asked me about what my Culture was in my early twenties, I would have been able to […]

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Bedouin Tea Recipe

Bismillah Rahman ar-Raheem. Okay so my husband always tells me that if you try for a million years you will not make tea like me Therefore, perhaps I am not the best person to be writing this recipe but I haven’t been getting regular complaints (too weak, too strong, not sweet enough, too sweet) for […]

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