A Rainbow Gathering

Good interfaith scene – check it out!

The Accidental Theologist

If you haven’t yet heard of it, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to the Ravel/Unravel project.  “Unravel your assumptions” is their motto.  And they’re asking you to help them ravel your unraveling into something wonderfully new — “a multimedia exploration of the tapestry of religious and spiritual identities that make up our communities and our world.”  (See the video below.)

Begun a year ago by Project Interfaith in Omaha, Ravel/Unravel is an invitation:  We’re exploring the tapestry of religious and spiritual identities that make up our communities and the complexities of how we construct and deconstruct identity.  We invite you to view the stories that make up RavelUnravel and add to the movement by sharing your own.”

Close to a thousand people have taken up that invitation so far.  And it’s fun to do.  Just turn on the camera in your phone or your computer, follow…

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Small Things Go a Long Way

Diamond I’m posting this because, when I was 11-years-old and my formal education ended at grade-five, my mother ground her teeth and snarled:
‘God does not exist!’
She then whacked me with her umbrella at the main gates of what had just become my alma-mater  Ladies’ College Colombo 7– in front of everybody: parents, teachers, passersby and peers…

I was brought home pronto and thrust naked under the shower for a second thrashing. 

This time – the toilet eekle broom and her fingernails… Eekle Broom

Eekle Broom

Mom hissed: ‘All my hopes are dashed’ and turned away from me in disgust and returned to her hole beneath a stone.

Stinging welts sprang up on my bare skin…

I wasn’t a child.
I had attained puberty one-month prior to my ninth birthday.
I had been a young woman for two years.

It was an epic performance on the part of my mother.

“Those, whom Allah guides, none can lead astray. 
Those, whom Allah leaves astray, none can guide”

All praise to God, I always wanted to be a genius. Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Only a Hatter would choose that. I am the Sona Talking Hat. It’s ‘Simon row the boat ashore’, I said. I made the Right Effort and eventually reached enlightenment through Right Understanding of the meaning of love and compassion.

I forgave myself, by the Mercy of Allah.

Allah is the light of the stratospheres
[Qur’an 24:35]

1240154_585586904816826_1845823737_n I understood why mom had tied her hopes to me.

I began forgiving my mother in my late twenties and declared the job more or less done a few months ago, in my mid forties.

It was a tedious process:
I sang the blues…
I wrote and composed my first song – Don’t Steal My Thunder – a rock blues ballad on
9 February 2004. It’s a Janis Joplin guttural wail against a backup of solid, smooth and soothing harmonies. A laid-back swinging rock blues on D 7th. More accurately, a drag back from D# 7th.
Yeah… that’s exactly how I felt.
I was wailing in great harmony.
I was 35-years-old.

By the way, I will be saying hi to the beginning of my 45th year on 24 October. Please drop by. I may have some sort of food-for-thought cake going around, in sha Allah, considering the ingredients at hand.

As Big Ben said to the Learning Tower of Pisa:
“If you have the inclination, I have the time.”

😉

21

Why did my schooling end?
The teacher abused me in racist language. She said she didn’t want an English-speaking shit-Burgher in her class. I should stand naked at the top of my road for not knowing the Tamil language.

I responded that it was she who should be standing naked at the top of the road.
She blew her top like Harry Potter’s aunt Marjorie Dursley.
I was ordered out of class to stand in the midday sun. I observed her for a while – studying the pattern of her security glances in my direction and crouched and ran out of her vision and climbed a tree on the grounds and shared very intimate moments with that tree.

We couldn’t study in the English medium, because racism is prevalent in Sri Lanka. Only Moors, Malays, Burghers  and mixed breeds and so on could join the English medium. The rest had to study in their own language – the great divide – Sinhala or Tamil.

Dad was an *LBW Burgher case who bore the name of his stepfather – Barnes, registered in Paradise Island Sri Lanka as Tamils.

*LBW – cricket – leg before wicket: out of wedlock.

We spoke English at home. Likewise, our relatives.
No school would accept me into the English medium.
I was clueless about the Tamil language and developed a dislike for certain aspects of its culture and traditions.

False values.

My aversion to false deities was always high, maasha Allah.

A few months ago, mom cried over the phone and asked  if I could forgive her.

I said: – Already done.
She said: – I’m proud of you.
I said: – All praise to God Almighty  – Allah!
She said: – Yes. I now know: God exists. My prayers were answered.
I said: – I know why I was born to you.

We burst out laughing…

Mom became the first patron and donor of my blog Reaching Out 1 Why Am I Tickled Pink?

After a period of no less than 3-4-years, I was accepted as a student by Sheikh Imran Nasr Hossein last month, alhamdulillah.

Sheikh Imran Nasr Hossein http://www.imranhosein.org/

Sheikh Imran Nasr Hossein
http://www.imranhosein.org/

Yes, maasha Allah – my very own darling Guru Pathik! He has an established unbroken chain of narration that traces back to the Last Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad. Allah’s peace, mercy and blessing be upon all Allah’s Messengers and those rightly guided.

I emailed my Sheikh yesterday 14 October 2013:

Assalaamu alaikum sheikh,  RE: Lessons Learnt From Khidr By Sheikh Imran Hosein (Youtube)   Why a fish? What about fish having sixth sense – Ampullae of Lorenzini http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampullae_of_Lorenzini  Just a suggestion.  Salaams,  Sona  Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes   ABOUT: http://about.me/sonabarnes  WEBLOG: https://middlepathofmoderation.wordpress.com/

Assalaamu alaikum sheikh,
RE: Lessons Learnt From Khidr By Sheikh Imran Hosein (Youtube)
Why a fish?
What about fish having sixth sense – Ampullae of Lorenzini
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampullae_of_Lorenzini
Just a suggestion.
Salaams,
Sona
Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes
ABOUT: http://about.me/sonabarnes
WEBLOG: https://middlepathofmoderation.wordpress.com/

He responded:

wa 'alaiki assalaam!   Excellent insight. The Khidr of this age must develop that 6th sense (of the fish) which we know as INSIGHT.    We need to pay adequate attention to the life-style, diet, attachment to the earth and to water etc, constant recitation of the Qur'an, etc. necessary for the development of INSIGHT.   Thank you very much. May Allah bless you with continued insight. Ameen!   with love,   INH  Website: www.imranhosein.org

wa ‘alaiki assalaam!
Excellent insight. The Khidr of this age must develop that 6th sense (of the fish) which we know as INSIGHT.
We need to pay adequate attention to the life-style, diet, attachment to the earth and to water etc, constant recitation of the Qur’an, etc. necessary for the development of INSIGHT.
Thank you very much. May Allah bless you with continued insight. Ameen!
with love,
INH
Website: http://www.imranhosein.org

Ameen, all praise is due to Allah. Tell me about being tickled pink!

😀

Wizard Chess  

When mom thrashed me and turned away, I stepped out the following year in 1981 to set my own record in Sri Lanka. I was the New Kid in Town and soared like an eagle:
I became the first 12-year-old professional female Lead/Rhythm Guitarist with the rock band Bishop. It remains unchallenged.

BISHOP: June 1981 (L-R)  Ravi Barnes (Bass Guitar),  Sona Barnes (Rhythm Guitar),  Michael Selverajah (Vocals/Keyboards),  Rifaai Thowfeek (Drums),  Lakshman Gamage (Lead Guitar)

BISHOP: June 1981 (L-R)
Ravi Barnes (Bass Guitar),
Sona Barnes (Rhythm Guitar),
Michael Selverajah (Vocals/Keyboards),
Rifaai Thowfeek (Drums),
Lakshman Gamage (Lead Guitar)

I did other things too. A few years later, I fell in love with Stan the Bus Conductor – the leader of the band.
Why?
He was the Knight Bus blessing in disguise and this was his song  –

Listen:

Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond


Mine was Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

To be a rock and not to roll”


It made sense.
Sixth sense.

My mother hardly reacted when I took a man ten-years my senior. 
Yep, things were seriously Topsy-turvy.
I felt my may through life.
I didn’t think it through…
I took it as it came.
Head on.
Heart beating.
Life surging.
Night and day.
The only way. 

Braggart?
I don’t walk my talk. I talk my walk.
I don’t have posh academic qualifications and letters before and after my name.
I am The Unlettered Bard!
I’m formally uneducated.
All I have are these small things…
… that have gone a long way…

I hope the message reaches you:

Believe in yourself, despite other’s opinions1382203_681370978542838_2133297912_n

If you can believe it, you can achieve it.
Before believing in God, you must first believe in yourself.
That’s the science of it.

Listen: Stardust

Small things go a long way, isn’t it?

😉 May Allah bless you!

😀

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

Idol Worship

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
― Plato

“Humans see what they want to see.”
― Rick RiordanThe Lightning Thief

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“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”
― Ayn RandThe Fountainhead

26

Definition of Shirk (equating creation with the Creator) : not separating the bull from the shit

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“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

― Benjamin Franklin

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“Five percent of the people think;
ten percent of the people think they think;
and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
― Thomas A. Edison

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“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
― Isaac Asimov

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“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

“The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about.”
― Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

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“But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them. It can’t last.”
― Ray BradburyFahrenheit 451

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Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

Fear

vsmpire

My fear is over.
It already happened.
Get over it.
Wake up.
Conquer the vampire within.

May Allah make it easy for all of us.

In addition to the poem Forbidden Fruit Punch, I drew a picture too yesterday:

Seeing Stars Opening Both Eyes - Sona - 21 September 2013

Seeing Stars Opening Both Eyes
– Sona –
21 September 2013

When you untwist the tangled rope, you are left with just the rope.
You can use it to hang yourself, or escape.
The choice is always yours.

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

Divide and Conquer

A sheep no more puts it very simply here:

Common Ground

Islam is the only way of life (religion) that makes acceptance of all the Prophets and Messengers of Allah an article of faith.

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It unites people from all religions and philosophies on a very down-to-earth basis…

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Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

The Truth about Jesus Christ

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“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

“The highest form of ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about.” 
― Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

26

Peace be upon those rightly guided.

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

Muhammad in the Bible

BREAKING NEWS: Prophet Muhammad’s Name Found in the Bible

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“If we can understand the difference between the creator and the created, then there is no difference that cannot be overcome between Christianity and Islam, or any other religion, for that matter.”

Peace be upon those rightly guided.

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

Wake Up!

Learning to unlearn is no easy task. I should know – I was born into a Christian family and embraced Islam. But like everything else in life, beginning is always half done. The greatest truths are the simplest.

Are you courageous enough to let me burst your bubble?

If yes, then please watch the following clip. 

So near, yet, so far away…

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Haven’t we been utterly mad to let them do this to us?

These are mad times indeed. Enjoy the song.

🙂

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Peace be upon those rightly guided.

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

That Awkward Moment

When you realize

Theologians-may-quarrel

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.
Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.
Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”

[Qur’an 49:13]

“Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,
And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].
Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.”
[Qur’an 2:3-5]

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Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

River of Fire

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I asked Allah to purify my faith
So, Allah threw me into the fire.

The harvesting of Sona began. (Sona in Urdu means gold.)

Yes, I’m swimming in the river of fire, by the Mercy of my Lord and freaking out at how true Allah’s promise is.
Does it hurt to to lose the dross?
Not anymore, alhamdulillah, not anymore… 😉

To be a Muslim in today’s world is to cling onto burning hot coals. Allah threw His friend, Prophet Ibraheem alaihissallam, whose purity of faith Allah praises as being of perfect example, into a fire and commanded the fire ‘Be coolness’ and it obeyed willingly and without option. Because it was programmed to do so under certain precise conditions. Physics.

Ibraheem (as) asked Allah, (paraphrased) ‘It’s not that I don’t believe in You, I just want to know how You do it.’

What an excellent question to have asked God. I seriously love Ibraheem (as)!

So Allah tells him to take four birds and train them to answer to his call. He is then told to release each bird in four directions, north, south, east, west, and after stationing himself atop a central  mountain height, call out to the birds.

Programming.

So Shaitan seeks to defy Allah via the same method of ‘programming’ – or rather, deprogramming. But because Allah wrote the program in such a way, so as to give the edge to mercy, those with the tiniest morsel of good in them would be able to overcome Shaitan’s counter programming and get in touch with their original programming and find their true selves and establish the connection with God. That’s what Islam is all about.

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The middle path is not located on a calculated dead centre. Nothing is rigid here. It’s just a beautiful expanse of shaded tones in every direction. A very beautiful aesthetic and poetic landscape, yet it’s the most terrifying position to be in because the pitfalls on either side have become acutely clear to the spiritual eyes.

Allah’s Speech cuts into the seeker and wounds it from all sides to let the Light of healing enter via the wounds… The pain, in hindsight, is always fully worthwhile and the recipient has nothing but sincere thanks and profound appreciation for and of the Lord of the worlds’ Light of the Stratospheres Attribute…

Yes, that’s how the ‘Light is switched on’ and yes, that’s how the connection is repaired and yes, that’s when you face the awesome level of realization that a part of you is a part of Allah.

That’s the tricky part. One can choose to go beyond and find out deeper truths, or one can indulge in beach parties and drown of ignorance due to idiotic arrogant pride.

I see many stuck at this spot. Some don’t know how to proceed. I didn’t know how to proceed. I was dumbfounded!

So what did Sona do?

I kept my feet on the ground and let my spirit soar into the heights – like an eagle – and I looked down from high above with mercy and compassion at myself in the material world… I then came gracefully back down to earth and prostrated my physical and spiritual self before Allah and said, “Yes, I’m certain about the difference between You and me.

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You are all powerful, I am not. I am not independent. I’m dependent.” And I asked for more.

The journey became seriously interesting from this point. I wanted to meet  Allah. And I was willing to swim through fire if that was part of the terrain. It was a faith born of certainty due to the simple physics involved.

Will I make it?
I don’t know.

How am I faring?
What do you expect – a mermaid on a floating leaf sipping a cool fruit punch?
aang 2

I’m still there, alhamdulillah. 😀

I dedicate this song to former band member, Lucky Gamage – thanks for the great memories Lucky 😀

Dire Straits – Water Of Love

Wow… this is the beginning of Al-Malhama – Armageddon, and I’m swimming in the river of fire. Yeah, I’ve kept the faith Lucky – like the Water of Love. 😀

Ya Allah make it easy for me. Ameen.

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes

Misreading the Qur’an

Help Yourself In Reading Holy Quran Arabic_English - Copy

Trained psychologist, experienced Middle East reporter and Accidental Theologist, agnostic Jewess, Lesley Hazelton, steps up to the crease to set the record straight with an excellent delivery on how to read the Qur’an…

A definite ‘MUST WATCH’ for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike!

🙂

Lesley Hazleton: A ‘tourist’ reads the Koran

So, who was this man, who was inspired to recite the glorious Qur’an 1,400 years ago and become the centre of controversy dictating, as it were, today’s world events from beyond the grave?

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The Accidental Theologist rises to the occasion once again with another MUST:

Read The First Muslim By Lesley Hazelton.

‘Well Read’ interview with Lesley Hazleton on ‘The First Muslim’

Hajiani Sara Sona (Brock) Barnes