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Events that Precipitated Reaching Out
What makes a worm take flight?
What stirs gymnosophists to activism?
What made the meditative recluse – the avid bookworm, gardener and lover of cats and backyard wildlife – abandon the peaceful solitude of the natural world and take to the streets… and sit day-in-and-day-out in front of a computer, hastily constructing a base station in cyberspace…?
The following face book status updates describe how the pricks burst my bubble:
Holding the number token poised midair, the female security guard at Cargils Supermarket, Battaramulla, nervously spoke in Sinhala to her male counterpart:
“Have we not been told to ask these people to strip before entering?”
I snatched the token out of her hand, placed my helmet on the counter and walked in. I was dressed in my usual abaya and scarf.
Within a few seconds, she was at my side in a nervous dither – offering assistance. I needed only one item and told her what it was and watched her bring it to me.
On my way out, as I was getting onto my bike, a man in casual clothes, who seemed like a senior Cargils employee, was giving instructions in Sinhala to the male security guard at the car park whilst manoeuvring his bike out. Upon seeing me, he continued:
“After the New Year, all this will be over.”
The security guard acknowledged this by clasping his hands in a dazed dither accompanied by some funny sounds.
I smiled at both.
The man smiled back and said in Sinhala:
“Miss, you will have to come this way, and I will have to go that way” – i.e., that was the only way to extricate our motorbikes. I replied with a broader smile:
“That’s what’ll have to be done.”
And this is what I did: If the oppressor can intimidate in public, so shall the oppressed speak out on equal ground.
Irony Outside Unity Plaza
I kept silent about another incident that occurred outside Unity Plaza (shopping mall) Colombo, about a month ago. But due to the rapid escalation in the harassment of Muslim women in Sri Lanka, I’m sharing.
After parking my bike in the parking lot, I was walking towards the mall, with my famous knapsack on my back, helmet in hand, when a thuggish man crossed my path and stood to the side and shouted;
“May, Bodu Sena, aah!” (Here, Buddhist Brigade okay)
Without missing a step I turned around and smiled at him, only to find he had four companions next to him, who stood with arms folded and hate oozing out of their eyes. I figured they were tri-shaw drivers.
I smiled at them too, and continued walking. They kept silent.
On my return, I had to pass them. They were back to lounging about and observing the shoppers. They continued to keep silent as I passed them.
Q: What happened?
Q: Was I scared?
Q: How did I overcome fear?
A: Right Mindfulness: Zikrullah (remembrance of Allah)
This is the dua (supplication) I made when I heard the threat:
“Allaahumma innaa naj ‘aluka fee nuhuu-rihim, wan a ‘uudzu bika min shuruu-rihim.” (O Allah, we place You before them and we take refuge in You from their evil.)
I also remembered the Buddha had smiled at his abuser…
Q: Did the experience strengthen my eeman (faith in Allah)?
A: Maasha Allah, yes! Since then, Allah’s words; “I am nearer to you than your jugular vein…” accompanies me whenever I leave home. I also recite the traveller’s dua and seek protection with Allah from enemies.
I am not a role model.
However, what maybe noteworthy, is how harmoniously the teachings of the Buddha and Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alaihi wassallaam (SAW) blended, to bring about a peaceful result.
Rabid Muslims – hold your tongue!
The Qur’aan is the criterion, by which Muslims measure, assess and understand everything, after first seeking ilm (useful knowledge) and thinking, pondering and reflecting – yes, meditation. So do that!
Allah says in the Qur’an: “Surely Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar…” [Surah az-Zumar 39:3]
The Buddha was known as the ‘truthful one’ and so was the last Prophet of Allah.
Besides, Prince Siddhartha’s story is in the Qur’an. The Prophet, (SAW) said; ‘Those on Right Guidance will be those upon the Middle Path of moderation.’
And there’s much, much more.
The Buddha never said God does not exist. He said you don’t need to believe in God (to obey God) – i.e., walk the Noble Eightfold Path to the cessation of suffering.
Regarding rebirth: O’ Muslims! Don’t you already know from your very own scripture that you die every time you sneeze or breathe… and when you fall asleep, Allah takes your soul unto Him?
Ikra bismi! (Read in the name of Allah!)
Separating the Bull from the Shit
Perhaps, the man at Cargils was right – the only solution maybe for Buddhists to come our way, and for us to go their way…?
But of course, this does not include following Shirk (associating partners with Allah) and Bida’ ah (innovations) falsely attributed to Buddhism and Islam – DEFINITELY NOT!
No amount of walking in circles with a basket of rotten fruits and flowers and a halo of flies, will achieve Nirvana. And seventy-thousand ‘laa illaaha illallah’ lip service zikr will not transfer the dead from Jahannam to Jannah (Hell to Paradise), if they have died upon shirk.
My knowledge of Buddhism and Islam is miniscule. I will not have answers to all the questions you may be inclined to hurl at me. But when those questions do crop up, it becomes YOUR duty to sincerely seek truthful answers.
That’s what I’m trying to do.
All that is true and correct is from Allah. All that is faulty is my own.
Astaefirullah (May Allah forgive me).
Lady Ridgeway’s Infantile Racism
A Muslim lady rushes her fevered five-year-old daughter diagnosed with dengue, to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (for children) Colombo, Saturday 13 April, at around 9:30 pm.
Admission Desk Nurse to mother (in Sinhala): “We know this is your culture, but we have been told not to allow those wearing this attire to enter the hospital.”
The Muslim lady asks why and is told ‘black scares children.’ She promptly changes her dark shawl to a light coloured shawl and is reluctantly allowed to admit her child amidst a big hullabaloo.
Blood tests are taken and the child begins to cry. When the child sees the paediatrician approach her again, the child, fearing more needle pricks, asks her mother (in English), “Why is this man coming near me again?”
Paediatrician to child (in English): “Shut up!”
I asked her to obtain the name of the doctor.
Some Documented History
Halal History Sri Lanka
Bodu Bala Sena Exposed
Sri Lanka: Muslims under threat again (Part 1)
Sri Lanka: Muslims under threat again (Part II)
Enter the Noble Eightfold Path
First Buddhist Questioning Bodu Bala Sena (BQBBS) Candlelight Vigil
First, by the mystic glow of the moon and then, by the glaring radiance of the sun…
These were teary times for me.
I had made my Hajj at the age of 30 over a decade ago in 1999, with the pilgrim’s declaration:
“Here I am at Your service O Lord, here I am.
Here I am at Your service and You have no partners.
To You alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and to You alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners.”
Plagued by believers’ doubts, as time eroded physical youth, I had often wondered when my services would be called upon… and if by the time I was, I’d be too frail to fulfil it…
Having scanned the horizon for my ship for so long to no avail, I was beyond weary, though not without hope. I knew a day would come when I would be called to bear witness of my faith in the One true God, under life-threatening conditions – through actualising intention via speech and deed – the ultimate test of the believer.
That was the deal I’d said yes to with youthful gusto.
Yet, all fanciful notions driven by the yen to declare faith from atop a mountain – to echo across the universe, entertained during long uneventful years of tarrying – were nowhere in sight as my spiritual eyes focussed on the rapidly growing speck on the horizon…
Enter the Way of the Cross
I was 44-years old, with no kith or kin, and here was my ship.
The once mystifying prophetic childhood dream had begun to suddenly materialise right before my dumbfounded eyes, and I was all alone.
With no teary goodbyes, fanfare or baggage to call my own, none witnessed the lone soul take a running dive into the icy deep and swim forth – reaching out – to the great ship cutting through turbulent choppy waters…
My only companion – the awesome knowledge – my Lord was watching over me.
Yes, these were crying times indeed… when the bitter-sweet mingled with salt to produce unfathomable buoyancy way beyond envisage…
Jesus Christ Superstar – Overture
First Rally for Peace
Hate Has No Place in Sri Lanka
Cat Stevens – Peace Train
But peace initiatives go down hard in the beautiful island, serendipity, located off the tip of Mother India…
Oh, Paradise Island is dangerous alright, where, as mentioned before in other posts, masked devil dancing is the cultural heritage! Whereas the famous privileged undergo periods of imprisonment, the unfortunate, just – disappear – without a trace…
Garden of Gethsemane – Jesus Christ Superstar
A strange man was noted by my neighbours since the beginning of the year, peeping into my premises on several occasions. A week ago, he managed to get in. I spied his shoulder, as he peeped down at me from the top floor toilet balcony.
I was quick to padlock the front door (iron grill gate), to bar his exit, but by the time I returned from my room with my handy boken – with every intention of striking before questioning, he’d made a speedy getaway via the garage door, which, to my astonishment, the landlord had forgotten to fasten.
A few days, later, despite the landlord having full knowledge of the mysterious intruder, I found my front door (iron grill gate) open at 7:00pm with the landlord’s bunch of duplicate house keys attached to the padlock. I have no idea for how long the keys were made available to anyone who wished to have duplicates made.
I have made home in an abandoned archetypical haunted house, with a family of stray cats, snakes, porcupines, kabaragoyas, birds and squirrels, thanks to the owner, who said I could rent it till my death. In hindsight, those words hold new meaning. Being Maha Sona, with a rich history of close encounters of the third kind, is useful. Thank God, I can fearlessly go where angels fear to tread! 😉
Nonetheless, Sri Lanka being the paradise of demons, where victims are punished and perpetrators commended, I am aware this presents the vengeful with an ideal opportunity for personal vendettas with Muslims to be settled with impunity, under the latest, Zionist-backed State-condoned BBS-driven Islamophobia fad.
Thus far, for more than three-quarters of my life, I have survived, by the Mercy of Allah, the numerous death threats and failed attempts on my life from certain parties harbouring childhood feuds.
Forsooth I have spoken
Even when the (secular) law functions unimpeded by corruption, it is powerless to prevent crimes from taking place. It can only avenge wrongdoing. Thus, I make this post with foresight, lest I disappear or die mysteriously.
Frustrated by repeated failures, a personal message was delivered to me by a thug in December 2004 with the black spot reminder: ‘I haven’t forgotten you. I’m just waiting for the right time and opportunity to dispose of you.’
This ominous reminder was confirmed a short while later in person: “We know that it has to be God who is protecting you. But, one day you will also have to die.”
Friends residing overseas repeatedly ask me why I don’t flee Sri Lanka. The answer is simple. First, I don’t have the cash to pack up and flee to another land. Second, where would I go? Islamophobia is universal! Might as well die at the hands of kith and kin, if that’s the karma they desire. Allah is the holder of life and death. My death will occur only at the appointed time. What’s more, although I’ve made the intention (neeyah) for Hijrah, I still have debts to settle.
Above all, I trust my Lord and the process of life. Though petrified sometimes, I’m totally inspired by the life of Prophet Jesus – Isa alaihissallam.
Last Supper – Jesus Christ Superstar
Having said that, it must never be forgotten, it is Muhammad, sallallaahu alaihi wassallaam, who is my Prophet. In him is the example of all the Prophets and Messengers that went before him. Thus, as a Muslim, when necessity calls for it, I can by the Mercy of Allah, draw upon all the avatars (Prophets and Messengers) – as Avatar Aang does in The Last Airbender in the encounter with Firelord Ozai, or to be more specific; as Avatar Korra eventually learned to do. 😉
Allah has been my guide and protector all these years. I’m content to keep it that way. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
But of course, when my time comes, I will die, just as everyone must.
Muslim by the Mercy of Allah –
Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes