Wednesday, October 11

Riding the rollercoaster again…

For some God-only-knows-why reason, I received a dozen of emails these past three days asking if I were to blog again. Strangely, less than a dozen of people asked me that question during the entire past … oh my God, it’s been 7 months already!

Since March, I graduated from Cambridge Schools in Jordan with an IB diploma (you can a picture of me in their website giving the graduation speech). I applied to several universities in Canada, the US and across the Middle East. And I had some 4 months of no goals or duties at all. I wasted the first several weeks in eating and staying up for days and sleeping for some other days… then, for the first time in my life, I decided to do something productive in my summer. And I started reading…

And reading…

And reading…

I could build strong muscles with the weight of the books I’ve read this summer!

At first I was reading random things from here and there, I got a chance to read 1984 by George Orwell again; I had read it in Arabic when I was 11, and I couldn’t understand the symbolism; it actually puzzled me to think how Orwell knew so much about life in Iraq at that time ha ha.). I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac, and I suggest Americans should write his name on their flag. In philosophy I read The Ethics of Authenticity by Charles Taylor and I and Thou by Martin Buber, I found an online copy of Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder and I skimmed throughout the novel. I read History of Arab Intellect (mom’s recommendation) by Dr. Omar Farookh, if this book is still not translated, then it’s certainly a loss for anyone who doesn’t read Arabic.

Then, I started reading in Islam…

I read dozens of books, in creed, Islamic jurisprudence (a.k.a. Fiqh) which is the knowledge of the laws and orders of Islam in worshipping, personal affairs as well as social affairs. I also read in the biography of the prophet (a.k.a. Seerah) which included history and sociology of Arabia before his birth, going in brief summary in his growing up and youthhood, then focusing in depth on his prophethood from age of 40 until his death at 63. The book illustrates the personal life of the prophet, his social life and the events he witnessed or participated in during his life. I wrote a post when the cartoon issue happened, and I put a link to the Seera of the prophet online with translations to most popular languages of the world.

Books can be very addictive; I couldn’t stop myself at only reading books, so I started going to scholars and attend classes; mostly held in mosques and sometimes in offices or even houses. The scholar – an Imam or a Sheikh- discusses a certain book with by reading it to the students and explaining it, then giving examples and asking questions. I attended many classes on Fiqh, Hadeeth [the sayings and habits of the prophet, they are the second source of Fiqh after the holy Quran], the study of validation of Hadeeth, etc… I started learning how to recite Quran properly, and I started to memorize it. I started to realize that we are made of a body and a soul, and they are two independent beings, each with its own necessities and desires. I started to discover what faith means.

Summer was in its peak, my life has dramatically changed direction, and just then I went through a life-changing experience; Omrah. I went with Khalid, along with some 40 engineering students from the University of Jordan [Khalid, however, went again couple of months later after I had left Jordan… He talked about what it means to go to Omrah, and he talks about his experience as well]

Medina, June 28th,

I definitely want to live here for the rest of my life…

I could not possibly explain the intensive level of spirituality in that city; I could almost feel the fluttering of wings of thousands of angels surrounding the hundreds of thousands of people praying in this place. Here, peace has a color, a texture, a smell…

Mecca was different, it was a place so prestigious that makes you feel so powerless, so dependent and in humiliating need for God. The spirituality that descends on you as you see hordes of people – wearing nothing but their coffins-, circumnutate around the Sacred House of God.

I came back from Omrah with a new identity, I began to see life through new lenses, I realized the purpose of my being. I have new definitions for words like Home, Peace and Prayer which resonate with deep meanings inside my heart.

It was mid July, I start to review on my life about to come; university was starting soon, which means having to tolerate social hypocrisy and a sole-materialistic life for several years. I was forcing myself to accept going back to the material world after a summer in heaven. I had to learn to live, and prove that I can live in this world.

I chose to go to The American University in Cairo. AUC should be my excellent choice, providing me with the level of academics I would get if I went to the US, while offering me a life in Cairo free from cultural shocks, and saves me from suffering life as a targeted minority.

I entered the campus with maximum level of defenses; an American University in the Middle East gives a norm of spoiled Arab and American Gucci kids. And I was preparing for a lot of suffering in order to establish myself in the highly-competitive community. I was surprised to discover that the spoiled American slice is a minority. There is a widely-spread diversity in students’ nationalities and classes. It was incredibly wonderful to meet several students like me; not as great and amazing and smart and humble as I am (since it’s certain that no one is ^_^), but at least in terms of spirituality and faith (most of them are engineers too!)

The arrival of Ramadan has greatly helped me settle in here. This is the first Ramadan I interact with alone, and its giving me a great chance to increase faith and enhance spirituality without having to be attached with family or lots of dinner parties. Socially, Ramadan has become a month of food for how much dinner parties occur in it. But I’m away from all this, and I am very glad to have become ascetic during this month; it’s cool when you live off your day with few dates and a glass of milk only...

I still need Ramadan to be over, and life to go a little less spiritually intense for me so I can figure out how should I stay active in politics and media, I was thinking of joining the AUC political newspaper, or I might minor in political science…

Iraq still posses a piece of mind, and Baghdad remains a deep-hearted wound, the present distances the thought of going back soon; it focuses instead on getting me well prepared to go.

I will go pray now…

6 comments:

jarvenpa said...

I am glad you are back blogging, and have made what sounds like a good choice for your future studies.
As to the pain of exile--

well, long pause, because I could think of nothing sensible or wise to tell you.
But I send good wishes.

pierre/Candide's Notebooks said...

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? -- it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the sky." Jack Kerouac, On the Road.

Great post.

khalid jarrar said...

truly, seriosuly great post!

Mimi said...

I tried to post and something went coo-coo. So, I'll try again.

Welcome back! Excellent, thoughtful post! I graduated from The American University, Washington, DC (B.A. English Literature). I've attended three other universities, and my time at AU was the best. Welcome to the AU family, and take full advaantage of what AU has to offer.

Please, keep reading and posting.

You might be interested in what I just posted about the Mahdi Militia on my "Boggling the Mind" blog. Khalid is a member, and a link is on his Blogger profile.

Anonymous said...

I am really impressed with this post, so congratulations

I think what you said applies just to you not only because you are extraordinary, but also because you are Majed – my roommate -. I am a person who never reads, never hears political news and never be an ordinary guy, yet I have got differences from others, okay, let's be straight and say I am ALOOF.

I appreciate what you exert of effort trying (as much as you can) to fix people's morals if not, faith and religion; even though, Majed, I try to keep up with you, but I always fail…. I try again, but I fail again too.

Hope you maintain your highest goals…….. I wish you luck brother ( yes you are my big brother even though I don’t have any), just leave me in peace and stop hovering over me and I will be mmmmm… satisfied.

Please, keep posting anything that has to do nothing with politics

***SpRiNg---PoLe***

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