Heard firecrackers. The moon has been sighted.
Tomorrow will be Eid in my part of the world. I wonder whether I have any right to celebrate at all. The festival is supposed to be a sort of thanksgiving for all that one has denied oneself for one month. If this is the yardstick, I should be celebrating every damn day of my life.
Technically, I have not woken up early in the morning to pray, not fasted through the day, not eaten dates nor been dry-mouthed. Yet, have all those who have tortured themselves in such a manner really been denying themselves anything?
I see a lot of sad lives – and I mean sad as in pathetic, not the deep sorrow that burrows through the arches of an ache and abandon – and I want to tell them that the most potent prayer is the one addressed to oneself. It is called introspection. The most important fast you can keep is the one that gives a little of yourself.
Only then can Eid be Mubarak (blessed). You can celebrate and congratulate yourself only if you see life beyond what you assume is victory. Why claim victory or defeat when there is no fight at all?
This is not to belittle those who have in fact gone through the process of such denial with the true spirit...I can only wish you the light of moonbeam whenever a dark thought assails you, as it does all of us.
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It bothers me that even as a non-practising Muslim I am ‘branded’. It used to disturb me. Now, I realise that I cannot remain voiceless. Unfortunately, even to be a liberal you need to find the right marketing strategy. You have to follow the herd as much as any rabid group does. Are you a Rushdie groupie? Nah? Then go take a walk…
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I have taken many such walks and it has helped me dig in my heels with even more fervour. I am the genuine outsider, the real brown. Yet, to refuse to belong sees me in awkward positions of conflict with mine, others and parts of myself.
“You are no believer, so from what position do you speak?” they ask.
Isn’t being human a position?
When I wrote in protest against Sherry Jones’ book on the Prophet’s wife, most of the liberal publications refused to publish it; then when it was, the letters were angry. I was called a jihadi, an Islamist.
Finally, in a rather amusing sweep, someone granted me the honorific of the commie jihadi.
Welcome to this world where one is everything and therefore nothing.