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The Opening 2 September 2008

Posted by Ayesha Mattu in BARAKA, Spirituality.

Al-Fatiha (The Opening)

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
All praise is for God alone, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds,
The Merciful, the Compassionate,
Master of the Day of Judgement.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we turn to for help.
Show us the straight way
The way of those whom You have blessed- not of those who have been condemned or who have gone astray.

– Qur’an, 1:1-7

Al-Fatiha is the most recited verse of the Qur’an. A practicing Muslim says it during every prayer, at a minimum of 17 times daily. Not only is it the opening chapter of the Qur’an but by saying it to ourselves repeatedly we seek to open our hearts to God and to be aware of the many openings and opportunities to come closer to Him that He provides us with every day.

The openings are also present in the places and people around us – if we take the time to become conscious of them.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Baraka 26 August 2008

Posted by Ayesha Mattu in BARAKA, Psychology.
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Zhang Ziyi as Jen Yu

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way was barred to me. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca is a wonderful film, in which Laurence Olivier showed me what great acting could be. The opening words are haunting, and I felt them ring in my ears this morning upon waking from vivid dreams.

The strange thing about debilitation and paralysis is that, eventually, it starts affecting your dreams, which are otherwise the realm of the impossible, the imagined, the desired. The illness seeps its way into your subconscious and limits what your mind believes is possible.


Rent-a-Guest 12 August 2008

Posted by Ayesha Mattu in BARAKA, Culture.

The BBC reports that in South Asia, you can now pad the number of attending guests on your way to wedding debt, er, bliss.

The Best Guests Agency employees can turn up either traditionally dressed or in smart Western clothes, and are briefed on family history and pretend to be friends from the past. Three categories of guests are offered, with the highest – at around 600 rupees – being be-suited guests who are tall, well-built, light-skinned and who can converse well.

Mr Syed, the founder, said that he has been contacted by families from far outside the state, including Bangalore, Calcutta and even Dubai.


Gratitude 5 August 2008

Posted by Ayesha Mattu in BARAKA, Spirituality.
Longing for the true Rose

If you express gratitude for My blessings, I will increase you in them.” – Qur’an 14:7

Umm Zaid and Umm Ali’s seven-day gratitude challenge and Imam Zaid’s pre-Ramadan article Gratitude in the Face of Calamity both resonated with me recently.

I have an overwhelming amount to be grateful for, and yet I rarely express it.

Isn’t joy so much more worthy of being shouted from the rooftops than complaint is?


Lota Stories 15 July 2008

Posted by Ayesha Mattu in BARAKA, Culture, Humor.
Image credit: www.urbanpeacock.com/images/

You know how sometimes you send out a link in an e-mail thinking it may interest your friends, and then receive an unexpected page-long response?

That happened recently when I sent out a link to an article in the race/culture journal ColorLines on the “shame and pride” of lotas and, by extension, our community’s traditional bathroom practices.