Author: logic rage

Born Wisdom

Tomorrow is September 2. September- the 9th month. 9=Born. 2=Wisdom (or Woman) according to the Five Percenter’s Supreme Mathematics.

Tomorrow I begin a new chapter in my life working as an assistant teacher at a pre-school. I see the significance of the Supreme Mathematics in relation to this day. (1) Born… I am going through a rebirth, not just as a new career path or even the beginning of the school year but rather a spiritual rebirth. In these past 2 months I have learned and built on more knowledge than I have in the past two years.

Since August 1, I have travelled from the west coast in the Bay Area where I sat with Rastafari brothers, Black Panthers, and other revolutionary Muslims, over to the east coast to build with the Ahmadiyya community,  and finally down south to Texas for a Shia Conference where I met a tattooed gun-owning Sufi  and laughed about how our lives were like a Michael Muhammad Knight novel- and back to my home base, Chicago where I’ve been building with my neighbor who grew up in the NGE/Five Percenter community.

(2) Wisdom. All the wisdom I have gained and began to wish to gain- the thirst for knowledge… ilm… Imam Jafir al-Sadiq (AS) has said,

One who does not use his intelligence will not succeed and one who does not use his knowledge will have no intellect. One who understands will attain nobility and excellence, and one who is tolerant will triumph. Knowledge is a shield (against evil), truth begets honour and ignorance disgrace, understanding is distinction, generosity is salvation and good manners command love and respect. (Muhammad Kulayni, Usūl al-Kāfī – The Book of Intellect and Ignorance.)

I plan to learn much more from the children I will be teaching at the pre-school. These infants, between the ages of 6 and 18 months have so much to offer, life lessons that go beyond any university lecture hall. I envy their innocence and also their strength, to be brought back to such a state of mind even by virtue of sitting and working with them will be an immense honor.

I have seen the beginning of new movements, people struggling together and making beautiful strides towards liberation. I have said goodbye to close friends who are moving across oceans, state lines, or imaginaries. I have seen a part of myself that I don’t ever want to go back to.. and now I am Born again.

This is today’s Supreme Mathematics.

Prisoner/Legal Defense Support in the US (LINKS COMING SOON!)

I know a lot of you have been asking me for info on how to support prisoners in the US. In my experience of prisoner support- usually there are 4 main types of organizations or websites that compile information on how to do this 

1) Queers/Trans* Prisoner Support

2) Muslim Prisoner Support

3) “Political” Prisoner Support

4) Radical/Anarchist Groups to whom Prisoners Ask for Support

I will provide links to all such groups in this one blog by the end of the week and I ask you all to PLEASE comment in this section to add any links/groups/websites you know of. This includes folks who are not in prison but pending trial who need legal support in form of donations, letter-writing, etc. I want to make sure everyone has one place to go to for these sorts of questions. 

Thanks 

The Divine Obligation to Combat the Self- Pt 1

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (pbh) narrated on the authority of the Imams before him, that the Holy Prophet (pbh) said: ‘O, Ali, the best thing about self-struggle is when a person wakes up with no desire to wrong anyone”1

What does it mean to engage in self-struggle? It looks a little bit different for each of us, depending on where we are in our lives- spiritually, emotionally, physically.. these all play a role in how we can prepare ourselves for reflection and struggle.

In this narration, we are faced with the possible consequence of no desire to wrong anyone.. is this a realistic possibility for any of us? While self-struggle may be inward and primarily comprised of reflection and thinking of ones own problems, the outcome of self-struggle often comes in the form of how we interact with others. If you are not at peace with yourself, you cannot be at peace with your Creator, or other people in your life.

Have you ever noticed those times when you are particularly angry, irritable or rude to others? These are usually moments when you suffer internally, or are dealing with matters that may be only fixed if you look into your own mind and soul. We may never know the exact ways in which our inner selves produce such hatred or anger towards others, but the only way to combat these ills is to reflect on what is going on inside ourselves.

Personally, I find that the moments when I am most stressed or angry is when I am unsure of a decision I have made or am about to make, or I am suffering from depression and anxiety that turns into bad behavior towards others. Sometimes this can be as simple as ignoring someone’s calls or texts, or taking out my anger on another person by pushing them away.

But what does it mean to truly have no desire to wrong anyone? We may think we are good people and would never harm someone physically, but this “wrong” can be done emotionally or spiritually as well. When was the last time you felt hurt by someone’s words or actions? Were you able to tell them about your pain? Did they apologize and ask for forgiveness?

It seems more and more, with advancing social media and the lack of personal contact with our friends, family, peers, it becomes more difficult for face-to-face interactions and discussions like these. I will be the first to admit that it is much easier to call someone out for their mistakes or pain they have caused me by email, text, or a message on Facebook than it is to get together in person. If I see them face-to-face, it may cause me to get too emotional, I may cry, I may risk them seeing my true pain or how upset I am. How can this be a bad thing? Don’t we want our friends to see the truth of our emotions, our “real” selves?

This narration has really forced me to reflect on how I have hurt others in the past-whether intentionally or not. I hope that I can one day be the person who wakes up with no desire to wrong anyone, and to be the person who is ready to discuss any time someone has wronged me.

 

1 al-Faqih, v. 4, p.245, no 821

Introduction to Combat With The Self

combat_with_the_selfI recently purchased the book, “Combat with The Self” which is a collection of ahadith from the Prophet Muhammad (pbh) and Ahlul Bayt (His Household).  The official summary reads-

…a compilation of traditions and sayings from the Holy Prophet and his Household (Hadith), classified under various subsections, all broaching the subject of the self, its vices, temptations, strengths and weaknesses. Based on the fact that one’s self is one’s greatest enemy, the book encompasses universally acknowledged issues of moral and ethical value from honesty and charity to humility and philanthropy. It consists purely of the sayings of the Imams, through which the reader will be left amazed at how congruent the Imams’ words are with the message of the Qur’an.

 

From this book, I will be blogging on a select few sayings and reflecting on them based on my own spirituality and anecdotes from my life. I will attempt to do at least one post per week, God Willing. I enourage people to share these posts and comment with their own reflections on the sayings I share with you all. The point of these posts is not to show that my ideas or opinions reign supreme but rather that these sayings hold importance in our lives in the current context of our lives and I want to share my thoughts with you and would like to hear yours as well.

 

I look forward to this conversation.

Ramadan Reflections: Day 1

After reading Kazim Ali’s, Fasting For Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice, I decided to start my own Ramadan journal.

For a while, I was debating whether or not to make a public Ramadan blog. What is the purpose of this blog? What is my intention? It certainly is not to show the world how pious or spiritual I am, because I think I am far from it. My intention with this blog is twofold- one, to help get out of the frustrations and anxieties I have of my first Ramadan as a Muslim, and the other- to hopefully show others that they are not alone in their struggles.
A few days ago, I shared this blog post I had written about two years ago about “why I haven’t converted to Islam yet”. In this post, I discuss my love and affinity for a lot of the ritual and spiritual practices of Catholicism, which I was not prepared to leave- at the time. After sharing this post, I received a message from a (non Muslim) friend who told me this post resonated with them in many ways. They later asked for some book suggestions that I read on my journey to eventually accepting Islam. I found this to be one of the best pieces of news I had received in a long time. Was this the correct way of doing dawah, I wondered? In what ways can I help others understand my faith, without making it feel like I am trying to convert them or being arrogant about my beliefs?

I remember this video featuring Ta’aleef Collective founder Usama Cannon, who discusses “Revisiting Dawah”. One verse in  from the Holy Quran is mentioned (among others),

3:104

And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful. (Surat ‘Āli `Imrām, 3:104)

In this verse, we are forced to think on a few key points (which Cannon mentions in his reflection), 1) How do we “do” da’wah? 2) what is the purpose of this da’wah?

I begin to think immediately about why I began this journey to Islam in the first place, several years ago.

The real reason I finally decided to take shahada (to “bear witness” and say “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger”) and become Muslim is the example I saw in a few amazing Muslims I got to know during my years at university. Between sharing spaces in political protest, to expressing our true feelings about what “Interfaith” means to us, this community really exposed to me the truth behind the veil of mass-media produced image of what “Islam” really is.

It was through the good deeds and passions of this group of people that I was forced to ask myself, maybe their faith has something to do with the way they do activism? maybe Islam has some qualities in it that allow people to have this sort of worldview? 

SubhanAllah ( Glorious is God), whether or not it is faith that drove all of these individuals to do what they did, the idea and force of Islam brought me closer to the deen on my own. I feel so incredibly humbled to be Muslim, to be loved by God and to try every day, to stay on the straight path. I am nowhere near the perfect Muslim, I have so much more to learn, and I hope this Ramadan will be a time of seeking knowledge, of meeting new people in the many communities I am blessed to be a part of, and of self-reflection.

Algerian Anarchists in France pt 1

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 12.53.44 AMSail Mohamed Ameriane ben Amerzaine (October 14, 1894 – April 1953) 

Sail was based in France, and wrote for French anarchist journals, agitating about colonial conditions and the plight of Algerian workers in France for three decades until the early 1950s. He is one of the few known Algerian anarchists (anarchist in the strictly Western tradition).

Born in a small village in Kabylia, a mountainous region east of Algerias, populated for many millenia by ethnic Berbers, the native people of Algeria before the arrival of Arabs in the mid-7th century. After imprisonment during World War 1 for military in-subordination and desertion, he settled near Paris and joined the Union Anarchiste, the principal anarchist organization in France at the time. From the early 1920s to his death in 1953, he continuously wrote articles denouncing the misery and repression of French colonialism in Algeria and the only slightly better condition of Algerian emigres in France, while also organizing committees to defend the rights of the latter.

As well, Sail joined the French anarcho-syndicalist union, the CGSTR (Revolutionary Syndicalist General Labor Confederation) in 1929, orgazined there a separate section of Algerians, and published Terre Libre, with anarchist Andrew Proudhommeaux from 1934. He volunteered for the International Group of the Durruti Column in Spain in 1936. Wounded in Saragossa, he returned to France and continued his activism, including demonstrating against French repression of Messali’s ENA.

Arrested and imprisoned several times in the 1930’s and ’40s by French authorities, upon each release he returned to militant anarchist organizing among Algerian workers and writing for anarchist journals. After apparently escaping a detention camp during the German occupation, Sail helped produce conterfeit papers. Following the liberation of France, he sought to organize committees of Algerian anarchists and wrote further articles for the UA’s successor, the Federation Anarchiste.

Sail is pictured in the middle, bottom row

Sail is pictured in the middle, bottom row

 

He viewed traditional rural Algerian society, especially in Kabylia, as culturally embracing though without Western anarchist terminology or anarchist principles of mutual aid, decentralist community organization, and individuality of expression- much like the description of anarchist cultural tendencies in Spanish society before Bakunin’s emissaries arrived in 1868 with the newly formulated explicit anarchist ideology.

 

(the above is taken from several excerpts of David Porters’, “Eyes to the South: French Anarchists & Algeria, 2011)