Tag Archives: Endurance

My Solace from Chaos!!!

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I’m constantly lambasted by hardship…
…as adversity strikes just like a whip…

…I’m completely lost in the Forests of trials & uncertainty…
…as the Wolves of deception just hunt after me tirelessly…

…I’m surrounded by Dessert, as my barren hopes & dreams, carried away from my reach, by the Winds of Providence…
…I came to know that all that I had yearned for, all that I wished for, were play and leisure, utter illusion and nonsense…

…As I look in search of that invisible Log-Cabin, to seek shelter in, during a violent Thunderstorm…
…Only then, had I realized the shield from torrential downpours were already, within me, all along…

…My inner-being, the core of my meaning…
…keeps me safe, from yelling & screaming…

…I know not which test of mine may really break me…
…or, whether or not Allah will choose to set me free…

However, I do know that, regardless of the harshest weather…
…my Lord won’t forget nor desert me, I’m completely secure…

…It’s hard to smile, when Life knocks all of ya teeth out…
…you feel you’re in the 12th-round & can’t win the bout…

…Yet, an important verbal signal, straight from the Soul & Mind…
…tells me what the Body can’t detect and the Heart can’t define…

…The messages says “Just don’t quit!!!”…”Fight on!!!”…
…the battle belongs to the Patient, as well as the Strong.

Gareth Bryant/2014

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an-Niqab/the Islamic Facial-Veil: Endurance & Struggle vs. Ridicule & Opposition

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Sonyia Ali pic

Author’s note:

At the request of the sister whom submitted this article, I will keep her identity anonymous. She specifically wanted to not be known, for submitting this article, which I must/should respect. Furthermore, even though anonymous, it’s so important that stories such as these are told, as often as possible, to let people know that the Niqab isn’t just something that’s a simple as placing a covering over one’s face.

This is her personal-account of the benefits & perils of donning the Niqab:

“It was a sunny, spring, day, and I took full advantage of it, by deciding to visit my oldest uncle from my dad’s side. A few blocks away from my apartment I decided to head out and fulfill my duties as a Muslimah, by visiting the sick and trying to uphold the rights of family at the same time. It was a nice visit… always interesting for my uncle is the type to talk about history and I love history, and he loves to talk. Our relationship goes hand in hand. So he talked, and I listened. Feeling content after the visit I stepped out of his house and headed home.

On the way home I decided to call and catch up with a friend from England, chatting away on my cell phone I was oblivious to what was about to take place. Walking in broad daylight in a Jewish neighborhood, which has neighborhood patrol you’d have to be in the safest area in Brooklyn. But alas, Brooklyn is Brooklyn and you have to expect the unexpected. As I reached the middle of the street I heard a glass shattering and then a Jewish man walking in front of me yelling at someone behind me. I turned around to see what was going on and not even a foot away from me lay a broken glass bottle.

And at the corner of the block I saw a figure running away. I stood there in shock trying to let what I saw sink in. It’s not that serious was my first thought. And then I heard the kind man in front of me asking me if I was alright. I looked at him trying to answer but I just nodded my head. Yes… I managed to stutter. Then more firmly Yes I said. My senses started to kick in and I realized what had just happened. I had been a victim of a hate crime. I was attacked and barely escaped injury because I was a niqabi. It stood there for a few more seconds as I saw the Jewish man run towards the end of the block to see if the culprit was in anywhere in sight and of course he had fled. “ He’s gone”, the man called from the corner of the street. Are you ok? He asked. I’m ok I answered and started walking home.

The incident lay behind me, and I pretty much forgot about it. I was used to having people react to my attire. I remember in the beginning when I first started wearing niqab (at the age of 16) I would tell people to “f@*& off” if they cursed or spit or even stared too long. But as I grow spiritually I realized people were afraid of the unknown, afraid of things that were different so I let them stare and comment and even responded with smiles and laughs.

Then almost a year later I was waiting for a bus on the corner of an extremely busy street. While I was waiting I was reading a book that a professor had let me borrow. I stood at the window of a bank focused on my book. As I stood there, a man pushed past me to go into the bank moving aside I didn’t take any notice and kept reading. Moments later the same man, who had walked into the bank walked out, and as he started walking away from me he pulled my niqab from my face. He didn’t get to pull it all the way down but it was enough of a tug to expose my forehead. Our eyes met as he walked away and never in my life did I see such hatred and animosity in a human being. I was in shock. Frozen and taken aback unable to figure out what to do. He walked away into the crowd of people leaving to my stunned state.

Crowd of people. I was in a crowd of people and not one person came to my aid. Not one person asked if I was ok. Not one person even looked at me. I was in a crowd of people. It left me wounded. Where was the humanity in humans? Why wasn’t I helped? Why wasn’t the man stopped? Why did everyone look away? Was it because I was covered? Was it because I had it coming? That night I cried. I cried for all the sisters that struggled day in and day out with wearing their Muslim attire and having to face such hate. I knew I was lucky. The man hadn’t physically hurt me. I knew of sisters who had been beaten, sisters who had broken bones, and sisters who carried internal and external bruises. And regardless of their pain they still walked proud with their hijabs and niqabs. And I cried for myself, it was the first time in so many years that I felt afraid to walk out of the house because of my niqab.

In bed that night I thought things through. Even though I was on a busy street I was still alone, living in New York you can’t always have someone with you. So what would have happened if I was really physically attacked and pummeled? I’m 5’ 2”, less than a 100 pounds and all I would have done was taken the pounding, probably gained a few broken bones and a damaged mentality. I had to do something. I needed to be able to protect myself. So I made the decision of finding a place that held self-defense classes for women. It was a trip.

I googled and called and googled again. I couldn’t find anything in Brooklyn that had such a facility. I was disappointed.  But not discouraged. Maybe I can have private lessons… was my next thought.  I called Midwood Martial Arts and spoke to the sensei there asking for a female teacher who was willing to give me private lessons. And lo and behold, the sensei agreed.

I went to the dojo the following week and talked to sensei Alison who listened to my account of being attacked. We started training. I trained privately with her for about a month, as we trained I talked to her about how at first, I was looking for a female instructor and was also hoping that the class would cater to women only. Not just Muslim women but women who just felt comfortable with having a female class and a female teacher. And what did the sensei say?  “Soniya, if we can bring in women to the dujo for an all female class then I can bring myself into train them.”  From there slowly but surely we gained a class of women from Pakistan, Germany, Israel, Muslim women, Jewish women, Christian women, mothers, daughters, students, nurses.

Who would have known that an incident that kept me avoiding crowds, and kept me crossing streets to avoid people coming from the opposite direction would have led to something so dynamic?

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Turbulence of Life:

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As the sea waves crash during our nights and days.
We dwell within our mundane, vesseled hideaways.

The torrid and torrent, toil and trial will drive each & all of us off-course.
But our navigator must be Allah’s guidance & with Him is the best force.

Because it is He who turns our ships: our physical-bodies, also our compasses: our minds & souls.
However, to get out of any storm, we need His divine-direction, or else sink, in the oceanic coves.

We must face the eye of the storm, know that it’s not really that big of a deal.
Most of anxieties we dwell on are just the tricks of the Devil, they’re not real.

He tells us, that if we go his way, there awaits an enchanting island.
But, if we go where he says, we’ll just land on a patch of dry sand.

He’ll tell us that our ships aren’t strong enough to head into the storm head-on, and we foolishly listen.
It is Allah who has warned us, against him, to be abreast of his “sweet-talk”, which is actually a poison.

We need to avoid his sirens upon the sea shores, and just keep going forward towards our destination.
The Paradise & all of its splendor are our charted course, providing we are upon constant redemption.

The Paradise is the only port where we should ever wanna dock.
Any other place will keep us trapped-up and under a heavy lock.

We must stay the course, throughout our mundane voyages, dealing with whatever challenges that arise.
For those who, so choose to, let ego & desire be their Captain & 1st-Mate, they’ll have a bad surprise.

They’ll all be led into a whirlpool of torment, where there is no escape.
They’ll be stranded on land which is full of hardship, as well as suffering.

With Allah, you could have had safety, at an isolated, and pleasant cape.
Instead, you thought you could lead yourself, and ended up with nothing.

Gareth Bryant/2012


My Love-Letter to the one who refuses to love me back:

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I’m not in despair, and I no longer care.
You really didn’t want me at all anyway.

I now see who you really are, it’s clear.
You just wanted to pass the time of day.

You knew in your heart that you didn’t want me; but, you kept it going.
You already had it in your mind that I would be like the others, coying.

There was this mythos within me that you were looking to explore.
But, then you got attached, then, you realized that I wanted more.

Then, you used the excuse of your family to say that it wouldn’t work.
You only compared me to every other man, whom to you was a jerk.

You prejudged me even before you knew me.
There’s so much to me that you refuse to see.

To you, I was just some regular Nigger from the hood, with no culture.
I was just some Revert-Muslim, without any past & without any future.

You were too hasty to wait for me to get things established.
You let haters you know make your decisions, it’s so tragic.

But, it’s okay, you’ve decided to run away.
After you had nearly sent my heart astray.

I wanted to do things right, and you just wanted a good-time.
Then, apparently, you just get this epiphany, that is sublime.

You want to run away from me, all because you’re afraid of how I would be perceived.
You’ve allowed others, who only look at the surface, decide who you want to be with.

The whole thought of you actually letting these people control you cannot be conceived.
But, then again, this is how you’ve wanted it; you yourself hadn’t ventured for any depth.

But, where is your own stance, and resolve; you need to stop letting people control your life.
If you would actually call it quits, because of only perceptions, then I need you not as a wife.

Now, I will never claim that I did nothing wrong.
And, I wouldn’t dare sing the blame-game song.

I know that I’ve sinned and brought sorrow to my own soul.
Now, my heart has dark-spots, the hues of mountain coal.

But, it’s a 50/50 split whenever things in relationships go wrong.
You knew in your heart you did not want this to go on very long.

You said that you would wait; yet, you are not displaying any inkling of patience.
You’re ready to just pack-up & go when things don’t go your way, at an instance.

You said that you would rather not speak to me or see me instead.
Now, if this is at all true, then why are you still my Facebook friend?

If you’re really serious about no contact with me, why not just cut me off?
Just release me, as the Lungs release dust & particles through a cough?

Gareth Bryant/2012