The year is coming to a close and with calculated precision we begin to read the obligatory and recycled journalism which opines the need for New Year's resolutions.
Me? I don't believe in a resolution process for the New Year. I do believe in a reconciliation process for the closing of each calendar year. Resolutions set us up for the usual February despondency and sense of failure. While we consider our personalities and accomplishments unique, the human gene pool contains a common bond: we all fail and disappoint others. That disappointment laps over onto us if we have the least bit of conscience. I would be dishonest if I didn't admit that 2009 held a few disappointments for me.
So it is necessary to look at 2009 and view it as waters gone by.
Regrets must be assessed. I am a person who likes to keep a clean slate. So if I believe myself to be ten percent of the problem I will still offer up one hundred percent of the apology. I carry an olive branch around in my life-time backpack and it is frequently pulled out and offered up. So it is good to evaluate regrets and assure that a reconciliation process has been attempted. That being said, sometimes asking for forgiveness is not enough. The offended party refuses to forgive. In that case, you have done your part. Don't grieve over what you cannot change.
Successes must we be weighed. Did you achieve any worthy goal? I always have a limited number of goals in my mind for the one year, five year and decade mark. These tend to be practical things which I know are achievable and not beyond my capability. So rejoice in the good which you accomplished in the past year.
Take 2009 and reflect on both the triumphs and defeats. Consider it as water gone by, things which cannot be retrieved except within the memory in a manner to warm the heart or dry the bones. Then gently walk away. Fresh waters await.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
The year is coming to a close and with calculated precision we begin to read the obligatory and recycled journalism which opines the need for New Year's resolutions.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Do you know how rapidly a scent hound can tree a racoon in Louisiana? It appears the intelligence "scent hounds" were sitting on the porch last week. Hence, a truly death-defying struggle within the confines of a commercial flight was needed to avert the calamity of the innocent. And this struggle, had the classic look of "Let's Roll".
In doing my own analysis within the IB (intellectual battlespace) which consists of my laptop, professional acquaintances and average brain I have always engaged a process which takes droplets of information and allows them to condense on a screen. While there is an after-action proclamation of "dots-not-connected" we can ill-afford scent hounds lying on the porch. Let me take you through a few of the dots and determine which ones were important enough to raise an alarm.
Name: Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab
Umar was the second Caliph of Islam (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali) The last name, a variation on the spelling of the grandfather of Muhammad (Muhammad bin 'Abdullah bin 'Abdul Muttalib - who was also called Shaiba.)
*No red flag here. There are as many Umar, Muhammad, Abu Bakr and Ali in Islam as there are Josesph, Mary, Peter and Paul in the Christian faith. A name, is just a name.
*By all accounts, Umar Abdulmuttalab was known as humble, tranquil, and calm. Such traits do not represent a specific red flag as we must deal with facts and physical evidence. But tranquility, is in actuality the portrait of the psychological posture of suicide bombers which emerges after the dirty deal is accomplished. It is an interesting concept, that of tranquility for the battle. It plays out within Ghazwah literature and the Qur'an. Take for example the Hunain Ghazwah:
"....and on the Day of Hunain when you rejoiced at your great number but it availed you naught, and the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for you, then you turned back in flight. Then Allah did send down his Sakinah (calmness, tranquility, reassurance) on the Messenger and on the believers, and sent down forces (angels) which you saw not, and punished the disbelievers. Such is the recompense of disbelievers." Tauba 25, 26
*Tranquility is not the red flag. But to discount a red flag because of reports of a person who exhibited a calm demeanor is silly. Suicide bombers don't announce their craft. They do it in secret.
The father of Umar Abdulmuttalab contacted the U.S. embassy with his concerns.
Big Fubar Red Flag:
This man is not a local goat-herder seeking an audience to complain that his son might be in the outback of the African continent carrying around a rebuilt AK-47. This man is a powerful and wealthy banker, educated, enumerating a list of valid concerns. Did I mention that his son had lived in Yemen, one of the most radicalized Muslim-majority regions in the world? There is a well-known Hadith which states, "If disorder happens take refuge in Yemen." Possibly this is the reason why more than a few Muslim men who see the world through a lens of constant disorder make the trek to Yemen. On the other hand, topography and geography might equally appeal for those who are being hunted before they kill again.
Did I mention that he resided in London, a hot-spot of fomenting hatred and Islamic radicalism against the West? The young man should have been tree'd by a scent hound and his visa put in a hold status while the story presented by the father was properly vetted. In my last brief, "Al-Qaedah: Deconstruction of the Deen" I place the onus and guardianship squarely upon Muslim fathers to provide a wall of defense for their children against recruitment into Al-Qaedah and their multi-faceted global ideological front. Obviously, one father already understood the tragedy that has beset Islam. Being an honorable man, history and his family will remember his part. I honor him for his decency.
There is a distinct recognition that the threat is an enormous one which requires a tremendous amount of resources and skill to properly track. But shouldn't the concern presented by a Muslim father, which was taken to the highest level possible in Nigeria, a concern directed to the government of the United States of America, been handled as information of a highly critical nature? Possibly it was. I don't know. I am not a scent hound.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Without a whimper. Having just received my latest Marine Corps Gazette an hour ago I opened to an article by LtCol. Michael D. Grice titled, "Leading Through Change." Imagining an article which would speak of the innovation and intuitive leadership undergirded by military values I found myself in the crosshairs of a debate which will determine the future effectiveness of the military with regard to good order and discipline. To see an apologist stance which bends to the will of political agenda and popular culture was sad enough. But to know that what is proposed will cause the demise of the UCMJ is a kick in the gut. An openly gay military will forever change the manner in which the military is able to deal with the individual military members regarding issues of morality and fraternization. So let me deconstruct the article for you a bit.
LtCol Grice begins his commentary with the following:
"In the dynamic and free society that is the United States of America, change is constant."
*Military members understand better than the civilian population that an open society is indeed one which engages restrained liberty for the good of all. A totally open society, where each man does what is right in his own eyes, creates anarchy and lack of order. Hence, you are allowed the liberty to drive your vehicle where you please, but at a safe rate of speed. The dictated maximum speed is restrained liberty. And while change is constant in open societies we must also acknowledge that society crumbles without some level of constancy. Societal anchors, such as the Constitution of the United States and the UCMJ serve us well.
*There is the deployment of a few red herrings regarding other executive acts which allowed females and black Americans full access to the military. The issue is not full access, rather full access under the confined boundaries of the UCMJ. I support gay military members who abide by the Code of Conduct as expressed in our core jurisprudential document. I do not support the death of the UCMJ for members of a "special class".
"Debate must always be tempered with the professionalism expected of Marine leaders, commissioned or not.... In short, intelligent and honest debate is a critical part of being a professional leader in Marines; prejudice and bombastic debate is not."
*I do retain extreme prejudice that the UCMJ is a fenced asset which must not be touched. It is the sacred chalice from which the military drinks. Hence, we should not shy away from vibrant debate nor castigate those who show strong conviction against openly gay military members.
"If a leader cannot subordinate his personal beliefs to such an extent that he can perform his duties, then it becomes necessary for that leader to resign."
*I agree with the principle. My personal conviction should be at my cost. We saw how personal conviction cost General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret). But it begs a further question. What should be the cost when an organization lays down a tradition and does not rise up to defend the UCMJ which has served generations of military families well? Surely, we still need a few good men?
"Every leader must decide how to reconcile his personal beliefs with the duty he is expected to perform."
*We should fear the day that the USMC raises up a generation of leadership which lacks conviction. I would fear to serve under the command of one who had deconstructed all personal beliefs due to political pressure.
If we allow openly gay military members then we must willingly remove from the UCMJ all clauses which would address moral failure and fraternization. If an openly gay couple is allowed to cohabitate, then in the "fairness" of an open society no Colonel should be relieved of his command for adultery. To penalize those who transgress a marital boundary would be discriminatory. Neither should heterosexual military members suffer penalty for cohabitation. It would also be discriminatory. The Navy nurse I know who cohabitated with a fellow sailor during AT and was confined to quarters will never again be punished, and it will become more difficult to prosecute criminal acts such as rape and issues of sexual harrassment.
I do not wish for military leadership to be reduced to robotic shells caving to political pressure which would destroy our UCMJ. This is a battle which must be fought. For the sake of our traditions which have served us well, for the sake of preserving a document which is sacred within our hands, may we not go out without a whimper.
LCDR Tammy Swofford, USNR, NC
You have proven yourself an admirable nurse manager. I appreciate your ability to go with your back to the wall for the nursing staff and the long hours of administrative duties which keep our unit within compliance with national standards of excellence. Beyond that, it is an honor to consider you a dear friend.
What can I say? Our friendship is etched on my heart. Thank you for the many shared moments of time in which both triumphs and sorrows were voiced with the distinct understanding that neither of us would envy nor judge the other. Your compassionate nature will continue to serve you well.
Tenacity and fortitude. These are character traits which I have observed within you for the many years I have known you. Thank you for the consistent Christian character combined with such a practical and no-nonsense nature.
You are devoted and loyal. It has been a joy to watch your sons grow from small tykes to admirable young men. The devotion and loyalty to your family has also been extended to the PACU family and for that strength, my sincerest thanks. May your generations rise up to bless you.
Your love for lighthouses mirrors your personality. You are the calm in the storm and the safety from the rocks when emotions run high. Thank you for the unique perspective and the gift of kindness and hospitality.
Thank you for being cool under fire with the most difficult of clients. I would call you the "Ventilator Queen" under my breath, but it is the truth that your little corner has always attracted the most compromised of post-operative clients. smile I appreciate your zest for life and your joy of sailing. I admire the consistent care and companionship extended to your father. It is exemplary.
You are creative with your hands and I have always been amazed at your ability to take a few craft items and create objects of beauty for your home and the homes of your friends. I will miss our Thursday evenings together when the rest of the nurses headed home and it was left to both of us to wind down the evening surgical load together.
You are an excellent nurse and thank you for what you have taught me regarding India and the culture of your birthplace. May you be clothed with strength and beauty, and laugh at the days to come. (Book of Proverbs)
Tammy Swofford, R.N.
Friday, December 25, 2009
The Taliban gets a C- grade for their stagecraft and manipulation on Christmas Day. Personally, didn't your gut tell you that today would be the release date for the latest on American P.O.W. Pfc Bergdahl? It is just like the usual no-brainer on the anniversary date of 9/11. Al-Qaedah Inc. makes a glorious reappearance and we are subjected to another scolding.
With holiday guests shuttled out our door with massive quantities of left-overs I decided to spend a few minutes punching into the Jihad sites to find any little scoopette on Pfc. Bergdahl. It has been weeks since I have ventured into Jihad sites. On the one hand, it became a bit boring to imagine if "Exhibit A" (nasty female) or "Exhibit B" (dull-witted male) was the resident F.B.I. agent. Beyond that, I felt like logic and reason were being sucked right out of my brain with each new click. Rhetoric and propaganda are the bastion of the intellectually impoverished. The Mexican saying, "El burro sabe mas que tu" comes to mind.
Anyway, moving into a site where nobility is in the veins (it is named after a battle of Muhammad) the banner was one of solidarity and indivisibility based on a basic misunderstanding of the concept behind the Arabic usage of a term in the Qur'an. But the Brothers-in-eArms are not to be deterred. The show must go on.
Just a moment ago I pulled up the news and it seems a strike in Yemen sought to take out the as-of-late popular talk show host and possibly shadowy mentor of Nidal Hasan, the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Successful strike as of yet unconfirmed. Minutes earlier, I had just read an archived article by the cleric where he proclaimed Yemen the center of Universe Jihad. Hmmm
So the show goes on with the Brothers-in-eArms.
Pray for the family of Pfc Bergdahl. This is a day of emotional upheaval for them. It is also a reminder that the ideological front is alive and well.
The snow flurries hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area shortly after I left for work on Christmas Eve morning. The wispy flakes, these gentle sentinels of cold weather, brought joy to my heart. By early afternoon the snow was accompanied by moderate winds. Taking every opportunity to dash down a flight of stairs to stand outside with my face uplifted to the sky, the nipping cold felt wonderful on my face and bare arms.
By late afternoon the winds picked up substantially. This particular time, I dashed down the stairs with a blanket around my shoulders. Taking a moment to view some of the plaques on the lobby wall I felt the emotional pull of unspoken yet perceptible need. A man had taken up his station immediately behind me and we were mere inches apart. My sense of personal space did not feel violated because I intuitively knew this to be the moment of a one-time encounter. Before I even turned I understood that humanity would reach out to touch humanity. Meeting his eyes with the dignity afforded to others, this man simply stated without any introduction, "It sure is cold outside." Rapidly assessing him I noted he lacked a coat. Taking the blanket off my shoulders I reached up on tippy-toes and wrapped the blanket around his shoulders and simply stated, "Take this. You need it." He protested but a little, thanked me, and headed out the revolving door of the hospital.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.... When you hug a Christian, they should leave you with a feeling of warmth.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Pumpkin pies are in the oven. Nurses work many holidays and the compensation is negligible. My twelve hour shift starts at nine a.m. Relatives from Tennessee and Texas, friends from the area will descend on our home tomorrow for the traditional feast which I love to prepare. Because of the constricted window of time to place the complete meal on the table (I require my guests to merely bring the smiles and laughter) we have moved to providing the meat selection via some of Texas' finest smokehouses. Here is the menu:
Greenberg Smoked Turkey
New Braunfels Smoked Ham
From the Swofford kitchen:
Oklahoma style cornbread dressing (lots of sage, coarse peppper, sauteed celery and onions)
Red-skin mashed taters
Sweet taters (Texas talk)
Green bean casserole
Mac' and cheese
French silk and pumpkin pies
I am listening to this song:
Love and Peace,
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Today I read a commentary which bemoaned the digital age which has allowed for the latest societal ill: Sexting. When putting on the anthropological hat it is best to engage root cause analysis. It seems a bit unfair to blame technology for what lies firmly within the realm of human decision-making and choice. Yes, the Creator endowed us with free will. We can do as we please. But "free will" also has a small attached legal clause: it is the law of sowing and reaping. And for those who don't believe the Divine law, merely consider the law of unintended consequences.
The Song of Songs is lyrical prose which unfolds the beautiful story of love, loss, and renewed wooing of the lover to a former state of passion and affection.
"My lover spoke and said to me, 'Arise my darling, my beautiful one and come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth....'"
"My lover is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills."
"Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely....Your neck is like the Tower of David."
Song of Songs is passionate and emotional, anguish and triumph. Most mature adults have experienced the wide emotional bandwidth of this story at least once in a lifetime. It is part of the human experience.
But what can we surmise regarding "sexting"? What distorted image; what trespass of emotional boundaries, when naked human frame is reduced to digital image, passed from phone to phone?
What has become of our children?
Posted by tammyswofford at 3:14 PM
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Last night my husband and I viewed the film Gran Torino for the third time. The language can shock those not adequately prepared for a gritty dialogue. But the film is also shockingly beautiful in its portrayal of a concept which is foreign to many children today. The theme of the film is one of restitution. And in the end, restitution opens the door to redemption.
Dallas Morning News ran a sad article regarding the Dallas Can! Academy. Apparently, offering problem students a second chance at an education within the four walls of a classroom is not enough. Some of these clods of dirt are stealing, fighting, and creating a stench for surrounding business owners.
America sports a generation of entitled children who know everything about their miserable little "rights" when it comes to a brush with the law. They may also understand the concept of punishment for evil deeds. How much better would it be if they were taught the concept of restitution in the manner presented in "Gran Torino"?
When it comes to adolescents and young adults it seems less a financial burden to have court-mandated restitution as opposed to incarceration for non-violent crimes. Catch a kid stealing at the mall? Place them under custodial after-school supervision to work toward the financial restitution of their theft. Give them minimum wage and when they have paid their debt they are welcomed back into society.
My eldest, cleaned feces out of cages at the animal shelter when he didn't pay a traffic ticket. No bailout for his stupidity and lack of payment of his personal debt; and no mercy extended by Dad and Mom when "the law" caught up with him. I have a friend with a son who riddled the windows of a new neighborhood home with his BB gun. When questioned, he was not quite sure why he had done it. But he worked all summer to pay the legal fees and replacement cost of the windows. Foolishness does not exempt from restitution, rather it is a very good reason to consider it. A bit of hard labor is not bad for a foolish kid. And as in the movie, the restitution process changed and strengthened the backbone of a young man.
Dallas Morning News article
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Some memories fade with time while others are seared into the conscience. I remember the faces, the tears, the tragedy of lives snuffed out by a drunk behind the wheel. A father had taken his three daughters for a ride around town so the mother could wrap the gifts and place them under the tree. The children would return to a festive home.
It didn't turn out as expected. The police came to the door. The news was beyond horrible. Four lives taken at the hand of a drunken teen-age female. Chop, chop, chop. There goes the family branch. As I watched grief unfurl her plenteous moods within this family tree my own young mind was already making notes. Alcohol consumed until exhibiting a sh-t-faced look can knock the crap out of the innocent.
A Fort Worth police officer killed the mother of two small children last week. His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit on December 11, when he took the life of Sonia Baker in a collision.
Reading C.S. Lewis yesterday the topic was alcohol consumption. His words are succinct and appropriate.
"The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication."
Please take this small note as a gentle reminder. Enjoy the toast with wine glasses raised around the holiday table. But know when you have reached the pleasurable limit.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Did you watch NCIS last night? It was a "Christmas episode" where a Marine who converted from Christianity to Islam was found dead in the snow.
The episode was highly scripted against the Christian faith and heavily favorable to Islam.
Do I have a problem with this episode?
Rule no. 1: Eliminate the competition.
Non-Muslims were portrayed as (and these are the words used): Bigots and Rednecks.
Islam was portrayed with strength, beauty and devotion.
One of my earliest blogs advised the audience to read with a filter and encouraged each of you to also cast a critical eye to what I was writing, weigh and evaluate for agenda or possible manipulation and deception. It is still a good standard for any reading or viewing.
The episode was highly unpalatable from the standpoint of a deliberate slap against the Christian faith and the use of a highly crafted scripted plot to make you hate..... Christians. It was an unfair depiction. It was an hour of propaganda.
Remember the guidance of former President Clinton on how to smoke a joint:
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
American President Barack Obama gave an eloquent speech when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. He is at his best when in the spotlight of admiring internationalists and I grudgingly admit that he has a motivational gift to inspire his audience. President Obama spoke of the labors on the world stage. It is within his capabilities and according to the power afforded him that policies and agendas can be set for the good or the destruction of the American people. He talked about lasting peace, just peace and true peace. I do not ascribe to the belief in a lasting peace because it would require the Creator to go back to the design board and bring to life a completely sinless man. There was only One with such qualification and he hung on a Cross.
So I am not as eloquent as my Commander-in-Chief. But my speech would have admonished each of us to "Kiss the world, one person at a time."
Not all of us can labor on the world stage. Most of us are ill-equipped for such great tasks. But within our frames are the seeds of greatness in the manner we treat our fellow man. We cannot bring a lasting and just peace to the world. But we can give the gift of peace to our neighbor.
This week found me reaching out again to plant a few seeds of peace. My hand extended with a five dollar bill for the Salvation Army bell-ringer's red pot. Can you imagine ringing a bell for eight hours? What a headache! But my five dollars will hopefully provide a bit toward the holiday needs of Americans.
A stranger behind me in the grocery store received her items for free. I could see the fatigue in her face and in asking how she felt there was the acknowledgement that her work schedule had been very heavy. I moved her in front of my cart and asked the cashier to scan her items onto my grocery tab and sent her on her way. It was only a few dollars but I scattered the seeds of peace.
I have kissed the world one person at a time several times in the last week. For myself, I do not seek greatness. But for my neighbor? Peace.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Crimey! The sheep have voted again!
The Fort Worth Startlegram (Star-Telegram) followed their headline today with this:
"Annise Parker made history Saturday by becoming Houston's first openly gay mayor, seizing 54 percent of the vote in a hotly contested election."
Perhaps a headline such as the one below would have given reason for a rousing cheer:
"Houston voters elected a highly capable and incorruptible public servant as their newest mayor."
Alas, Americans are now voting en masse as if they are purchasing a new gadget at a novelty shop as opposed to engaging an educated voting process. Everything must now be a "first" in elections or appointments, somewhat an Everest-of-Voting exhilirating peak. We practically become hypoxic over the anticipation of each new "first". I suppose the next headline will give up a hoot that Americans have voted for a cross-dressing transvestite with three cats.
First American president who has more relatives in Kenya than I have money in the bank? Check the box. First Speaker of the House who is beginning to look so plastic that her fox tendencies are showing up on her face? (Foxes do have wide-set eyes, of course) Check the box. First Hispanic female further diversifying the gene pool of the SCOTUS? Hurrah!
The sheep will continue to vote. And in the end, the laugh will be on us.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Approximately five years into my marriage my husband made a confession. It went something like this:
"I tried once to imagine how I would feel if I found out you had been cheating on me. It caused such immense pain that I knew I could never do it to you."
My love for my husband found a new level that day.
Marriage is the hardest of all endeavors. Our culture now advocates "starter" marriages, "open" marriages, and all manner of things which are knock-offs for the real deal. To imagine spending a lifetime with the same person is an awesome prospect indeed. I don't fault those who are unable to make it to the finish line in a marriage. The world of white lace and promises soon fades to the gritty world of diapers and dinner at home. Many things factor into the death of a marriage. It is rarely a single incident.
Marriage is especially hard on women. We make ourselves vulnerable to men because we are the weaker of the species and know deep down inside that protection is required if our gender is to survive. We also find protection desirable for those little creatures made in our image. The saying, "Men give love for sex and women give sex for love" shows the different way in which we are wired.
Men are hard-wired for sex. I once read a study to my husband which noted men thought about sex approximately every twelve seconds. (If I remember it right!) "Really, is that true?" I queried my husband regarding this compelling urge for coupling. He opined that men think about sex all of the time.
Tiger Woods forgot to look at his wife and his children. He forgot to imagine the picture frame on the mantle showing only himself, and not his family with him. He has a billion dollars available to salvage his situation. Will it be enough? What price, a broken heart?
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
"Islam is not a religion. It is a code of life, a system of living. Islam is about the nation of a community. It presupposes the existence of a state."
G. A. Parwez
The migration of Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah was preceded by both pledge and intrigue. Once settled with his cadre of loyalists into what was to become the nascent seat of government for Islam a doctrine of brotherhood became more firmly established.
The concept of a tightly-knit brotherhood had been introduced prior to this time with "Al-Ansar" or "The Helpers" in Madinah who provided assistance to the trickle of Muslims moving away from the continued persecution in Makkah. And while many students of Islamic studies are able to identify the "ayat of the sword", the Qur'anic verses which allow for killing, warfare, and rules of conduct, it takes a move into Hadith literature to adequately understand the concept of brotherhood.
Americans have a saying: "Blood is thicker than water." We acknowledge the family bond as a strength of society. Esconced within Islamic literature is an abundance of sayings which define the relationship of one Muslim to another. The Muslim "family" is now approximately 1.3 billion strong and birth rates will produce a predominant new reality in Europe by 2050. Powerful voting blocs will begin to develop and the tools of democracy will be used to imprint the image of Islam on Europe. There will be the development of para-parliamentary structures which will stress the existing order of things. The strength of the brotherhood will dominate the landscape and be undergirded by foundational doctrinal beliefs which will determine the political outcomes of the future. I have been addressing these issues since 2005 in my writing. We should not shy away from discussing the very real challenges of the future as the geopolitical chessboard will continue to change. To discuss potential political tensions, does not make an Islamophobe. To refuse to discuss, does produce more than a few PC ostriches devoid of solution-based dialogue.
Here are but a few Hadith to consider.
"The bonds of brotherhood between two Muslims are like parts of a house, one part strengthens and holds the other."
Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/890
"Do not have malice against a Muslim; do not be envious of other Muslims; do not go against a Muslim and forsake him. Oh the slaves of Allah! Be like brothers with each other. It is not violable for a Muslim to desert his brother for over three days."
Sahih al-Bukhari 2/896
"A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim; he neither oppresses him nor does he fail him...."
Mishkat Al-Masabi 2/422, Sahih Al-Bukhari; Sahih Muslim
"Abusing a Muslim is an outrage and fighting him is disbelief."
Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/893
*The aforementioned are taken from an excellent book, one recommended for beginning students:
Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, "Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar), Biography of the Noble Prophet, Islamic University Al-Madina Al-Munawwara, Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, Publishers and Distributors, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
An additional text which does a good job in tackling this topic is one by a man named Leopold Weiss who later converted to Islam and adopted the name of Muhammad Asad. He is best known for "The Message of the Qur'an". But his small book on Islamic Government is a great book to read as it is succinct and synoptic in style. I purchased mine from an Islamic Bookstore but my guess is Amazon will carry it.
Asad, Muhammad, "The Principles of State and Government in Islam", Islamic Book Trust, Kuala Lumpur
Saturday, December 05, 2009
I am finding myself..... at a loss for words. smile
It is good to be quiet, to be still and reflect a bit during this Season. Many people do pull back from the hustle and bustle of commercialism and the marketplace of ideas to acknowledge what is of utmost importance.
Word of God Speak
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Poverty has a face. Tonight, it was the face of an adolescent girl.
Moving toward the bookstore exit of the mall after a night of shopping I noticed the group in front of me. Lagging behind but obviously a member of this particular family was a young lady with a stumbling gait. I recognized it as the familiar walk of a person with mild cerebral palsy. On her head was a black wool cap. She was wearing a torn flannel jacket through which I could see her thin black T-shirt underneath. The jeans were torn, tennis shoes old, and she did not have socks. It was cold and raining tonight. The family had one small shopping bag. They lacked an umbrella. They looked humble.
My heart broke.
I wished that my purse had contained a gift card which I could tuck into her hand with a smile and a quick, "I love you even though we have never met."
Love is the easy part. Preparation was lacking.
Next week I intend to purchase that special gift card to be given to a stranger in need. It is my hope that I will cross paths again with this young lady. The economic need is great. But to hand out an unexpected gift with an expression of love is even more important. Everyone needs the emotional hug which comes with compassionate expression.
"I can kill you with a paper clip." Eyeing me lazily and obviously waiting for a reaction I chose instead to respond mildly, "I am sure you can." Mentally, I surmised that the paper clip was also not necessary. This man, could kill me with his bare hands.
Less than forty-eight hours earlier I had used signatory authority approving the flight manifest for our detachment to take the short helo ride on the trusty Chinook to our week-end warrior site. Now while this was not the Alpha guest list for a White House dinner I still felt immense responsibility to validate that the manifest matched both members and cargo load. I had been chosen as Commandant of this particular exercise and it was a distinct honor to be "in charge" if only for two days. My inflated ego received necessary adjustment shortly after we landed. High overhead a small aircraft was dropping Delta Force members onto a field adjacent to our landing strip. As they plummeted toward the earth the men looked like little black dots, then grasshoppers under mushrooms, and finally their distinct forms and military boots hitting the ground.
The Delta Force member who was just a dedicated man with a healthy love for field-stripped MRE's was my favorite of his team. He was the medic for the group and had made his leap with eighty pounds of I.V. fluids and medical gidgets and gadgets strapped on his back. The fact that he had spit teeth out of his mouth in Afghanistan made him legendary in my eyes. I twisted my wedding ring more than a few times every time we talked.
But since the episode with the breach of security at the White House I have paused to reflect on a few issues. I did not vote for President Obama and I would not vote for him tomorrow if the election were cast again. But he is my Commander in Chief, I fall under his chain of command (at the absolute bottom....) and he is part of our national treasure. Yes, there are men who can kill with a properly placed blow of the hand. I am grateful that Mr. and Mrs. Salahi were just opportunists hoping to bolster their financial bottom line. The headlines could have been much more somber.